It’s more than 100 years since the ANZAC legend was forged in places like Fromelles and the Somme in France; and today Australia and France remain the strongest of allies. Our shared military heritage provides a solid foundation for a new endeavour to further strengthen this time-honoured relationship.
France is a strategic presence in the Asia Pacific with territories in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Clipperton Island, Wallis and Futuna, making it a regional Pacific power.
This presence, which is unique among European countries, gives France specific responsibilities regarding defence and security in the Asia-Pacific.
France has over 2,500 military and civilian defence staff present in the Pacific.
France participates in joint regional naval exercises with Australia, maintains a good relationship with China, partakes in active joint programs as a member of the Pacific and Indian Ocean communities and cooperates in the utilisation and preservation of Antarctic Territories.
As part of an international Coalition, France is currently working with Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom to fight the Islamic State threat in the Middle East. France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is currently leading Coalition airstrikes against ISIL from the Persian Gulf. In February, an Australian Frigate, the HMAS Darwin, became the Charles de Gaulle's escort and protection.
The Royal Australian Navy and the French Navy share similar operational demands. Both operate submarines in the Indian Ocean and cooperate closely with the United States Navy.
Both French and Australian submarine missions share similar strategic characteristics. This is why DCNS proposes the Shortfin Barracuda for Australia. The resulting two derivatives of the Barracuda class submarine, one French and one Australian, will share essential characteristics. These include an extremely long range and endurance capability; superior sensor performance (particularly in the sonar suite); state-of-the-art stealth technology; and habitability for extended periods at sea, across both open oceans, and in high intensity operational scenarios.
Combined with closer operational, technical and industrial cooperation as fostered through the Government-to-Government agreement, the Commonwealth and the Royal Australian Navy have a partner in France for generations to come.
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