Australia Signs Deal For 12 Submarines

A CGI of the future Attack Class submarines.

SHAH ALAM: Australia signs deal for 12 submarines. After three years of negotiations, Australia and Naval Group finally signed the Strategic Partnering Agreement for the country’s Future Submarine Programme. With the agreement, the construction of 12 conventional submarines, to be known as the Attack class will begin soon.

What is this got to do with Malaysia then? As the Future Submarine Programme was among the highlights of the 2016 Australian Defence White Paper, it is a timely reminder of the importance of such document, lest our white paper got sidetrack of course.

Attack class submarine developments. Naval Group

Release from Naval Group:

Naval Group signs the Strategic Partnering Agreement
A significant milestone has been achieved today with the signing of the Future Submarine
Program Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) by the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) and
Naval Group.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, The Hon. Christopher
Pyne, Minister for Defence and Florence Parly, French Minister for the Armed Forces.
The agreement sets out the principles of cooperation between the two partners for the Attack class
Submarine Program which will see:
 the delivery of 12 regionally superior submarines to Australia with leading edge capabilities;
 the delivery of new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities to Australia,
introducing the next phase of Australian sovereignty as a submarine nation;
 the creation of thousands of direct and indirect Australian jobs which will positively impact many
generations of Australians; and
 opportunities and long-term planning certainty for industry, allowing Australian companies
involved in the submarine program to invest in the capabilities needed to support their
involvement in construction and sustainment activities.
“Naval Group is known for building world-leading, technologically advanced submarines and has built
100 of them for nine different countries,” said Herve Guillou, Chairman and CEO, Naval Group.
“This agreement with Australia will see Naval Group transfer the “know-how” and “know-why” to
Australia to become an sovereign submarine nation.
“We are very excited about the opportunities that lay ahead of us and are committed to delivering the
Future Submarine Program for Australia.
“We are grateful to the teams from the Commonwealth of Australia and Naval Group who have
worked hard to achieve this agreement,” said Mr Guillou.
Since being selected as Australia’s partner for the Attack class Submarine Program in April 2016, a
lot has been achieved.

A CGI of the future Attack Class submarines.

Anyhow I was told that a delegation from Australia came to Jalan Padang Tembak last week to brief the ministry on their own document and hopefully gave our own planners some pointers and best practises for such things.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2147 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. basically we have indonesia cornered whenever they try to pull a fast one on us.

    With CAP55, I’d like to see our infantry o be transformed into a completely light infantry which can be deployed near instantly to the frontline instead of turtling near the border ala south korea/pakistan

  2. In the long run, we should admit that alone, we are not going to achieve economies of scale if we continue a defense project on our own. Granted projects like the LCS and NGPV may have created local jobs but whether the cost associated with it is justifiable. For example, if the Gempita has been bought out right off the shelf, we may have save USD500 million (being the reported technology transfer cost) of RM2 billion of the overall project cost of RM9 billion for 257 hull. Some may argue that RM2 billion has a good impact on local economy due to local job creation/investment, whether the job creation is sustainable post the 7 years program schedule is questionable should there is no follow up orders or significant export orders beyond that.

    Interesting about the Australian submarine program, i believe it is something that we should look at for our future submarine program in the next 10-15 years. If we could join in with the Australian (maybe taking 2 hulls by 2030 or later), we could benefit from reduced project risk and potentially a more sustainable operating cost?

  3. Oh those dumb aussies, now everyone is gonna get asw gear, how can they publicise such super sensitive information. Bravo! – @joe

  4. Yep, Australia is in the process of a military buildup because of our fear of an increasingly aggressive and dangerous China. Boxer armoured vehicles plus replacement for the old M113, not to mention 2 new LHD, 3 AWD and 8 type 26 as replacement for Anzac class. 75 new F35. Wow. Recently received Growlers and Wedgetail for the RAAF not to mention Poseidon MPA. We have a proud history of being a regional power, so defence spending is seen as a boost to jobs and security, not like in M’sia where it’s seen as a waste. Different mindset.

  5. What? The Aussies came to brief the guys in Pdg Tembak? Perhaps some here should offer Pdg Tembak assistance on how to write a good proposal, White Paper included. 😉

  6. on our own defence white paper

    We need to have a clear

    1. Defence Interests
    What do we want? We want a peaceful Malaysia, peaceful south east asia, stable relationships with neighbouring countries.

    2. Defence Objectives
    Able to deter, deny and defeat attacks to East and West Malaysia. Protect the economic activities of Malaysian entities in our EEZ. To be able to monitor hostile threats in the air, sea and on land. Contribute to the security of the region and the world through UN peacekeeping forces. Able to help during natural disasters.

    3. Plans from the services to meet our Defence Interests and Defence Objectives

    4. Commitment from the government to fund the services needs and requirements.

    On the submarines.

    I believe that we need to have at least 6 submarines, and this actually can be had with the current level of funding commitment the government gives to the navy. IMO if there is any serious escalation in South China Sea, the most survivable platform for us to strike back at hostile warships would be the Subs, and our Su-30MKMs

  7. Alex “With CAP55, I’d like to see our infantry o be transformed into a completely light infantry which can be deployed near instantly to the frontline instead of turtling near the border ala south korea/pakistan.”

    Sounds glamorous but “light infantry” cannot survive against heavier forces and have their own mobility challenges once on the ground.

    If you want to send them to a distant battlefield, you have to worry about how to keep them supplied and how to reinforce or extricate them if the enemy comes at them with heavier opposition on their home ground.

    For any reasonably motorized units, advanced elements can go by air but the bulk of a unit’s equipment and logistics must go by ship.

    “Interesting about the Australian submarine program, i believe it is something that we should look at for our future submarine program in the next 10-15 years. ”

    Those are essentially nuclear boats with conventional power substituted. They are are too large for us.

  8. @ alex

    CAP55 is TUDM specific plan. The plan for the army is ARMY 4NextG. What is it all about? The plan is basically to empower the army to fight on 2 fronts at the same time (basically fighting 2 simultaneous conflicts on both east and west malaysia).

    @ kamal

    The attack class is huge. It is designed to play in other peoples neighbourhood. We on the other hand needs a sub to defend our own backyard.

    @ tomtom

    The white paper is needed, to show the politicians and the rakyat that spending for defence is very important in maintaining our current way of life. Something like the Lahad Dato attack or Marawi needs to be highlighted as something we need to make sure not to happen again in the future.

  9. Oh another thing.

    Could we be frank to ourselves and list China as one of our security threats in our Defence White Paper?

    Unlikely I was told…

  10. Probably we could put it this way.

    China is an important neighbour, and emerging economic and world power. But China is increasingly flexing its powers in malaysian EEZ and disturbing malaysian economic activities in the area. While friendly diplomatic and economic ties with china is essential, malaysia should also be firm in defending our interest against encroaching chinese military and paramilitary units in our EEZ.

  11. @ taib

    Brown man say vitamins is good for your health. People will be very skeptical.

    White man tells the exact same thing. Yes of course that is absolutely correct!

    Anyway those that are paid to defend the country, sent for training overseas etc etc should be able to come out with better plans than someone who is just an ordinary layman like me.

  12. Military equipments getting more and more expensive. Traditionally, SG and Aussie have better tech to cover other weakness. New tech is the expensive part.

    While other “lower tech” nations are buying better tech for their defense, it will push this 2 nations to spend more and more money for their defence. After all defence is a money game.

  13. Just my ignorant view but to be an effective deterrent not just to China but other potential states threat no matter how unlikely the possibility, i believe that:-

    2 Attack class type conventional submarine (USD7 billion)
    2 F101 type AWD (USD3 billion)
    2 ASW large frigate (FREMM size) (USD1.5 billion)
    2 Poseidon type MPA (USD1 billion)
    2 MPSS/LPD (USD1 billion)
    4 ASW Heli Merlin class size (USD1 billion)
    24 5th Gen MRCA (USD8 billion)

    Would be required in 25 years time. This however would not be as a lone deterrent but as part of a combine ASEAN force (maybe plus Australia). But off course to pull this off Malaysia would need a defense budget of equivalent of SG or Australia by then (2040) or else it would not work.Looking at our current economic predicament, the above is unlikely to even kick off 🙂

    The rest of our naval and air defence then would be supplemented by affordable gun based OPVs (maybe up to 27?), E-SHORAD GBAD and BVR capable supersonic LCA/LIFT (Maybe up to 36?)

  14. When was the last time we have a White Paper on defence? Was PERISTA borne out of a White Paper?

  15. @ kamal

    I dont think we can afford those USD22.5 billion (and that is not including lots of stuff like LCA/FLIT, and OPVs for APMM)

    There is more important things than AWD and Attack class subs. Things like:
    Additional A400M
    Additional Gempitas
    new Howitzers

    BTW some price examples of other platforms

    Our Scorpene costs only about USD0.5 bil each (original contract for malaysia was US$972 million for 2 submarines)

    USA has excess nearly new ASW MH-60R that we can buy as US EDA

    Spain is selling 13 of its A400M that it has bought

    FC-31 is priced at USD70 million each

    The Philippines SSV (thats is another name for LPD or MRSS) costs USD92 million for 2 ships

  16. Perista is mainly an upgrade plan to counter the spread of communist power in south east asia. It is cut short by the 1980s ecomomic crisis. IMO it is not a white paper per se.

    Another issue that we need to address is the expansion of influence of neighbouring countries due to the rise of their GDP. By 2030 it is expected that indonesian economy to be the 4th largest in the world, just behind USA. Their military is preparing for this, and we could probably see their military to be the biggest and most well equipped in SEA by then. The defence white paper should also address this probability.

  17. Actually if I remember correctly the whole scorpene program of around 950 mi euro is for 2 scorpene and 1 agosta 70.the agosta was used for abt 5 years for crew training in France before it was shipped back to Malaysia to become a museum.

  18. @ kamal

    So are you saying that 2 attack class sub (i don’t think it is 7 billion but that is what you say) would be better than 14 scorpenes?

  19. On the usd7b price tag I just based on arimathic AUD50 billion for 12 or USD38 billion total for the aussie. So just assume 2 for ard 7 b but could be more or less?

  20. Making the Economic sense

    Currently defense spending is around 1.2% of GDP of USD323 billion estimated. Say about RM16 billion currently. Assuming that we maintain economic growth of 4.5% for the next 10 years, our GDP will be around USD500 billion. Assuming maintaining the same GDP ratio, defense spending will be at USD6 billion. If we increase the ratio to max 2%, it will be around USD10 billion.

    However we have to take note of inflationary pressure say 3% per annum (this to cover cost increase in salary O&M) roughly operation budget will be USD5.2 billion at least. Thus leaving only USD900 mil for development budget for all 3 services.

    In summary, unless we increase defense spending ratio to GDP to 2% or we have higher average economic growth next 10 years, it will be tough to fullfill all the wish list for brand new items such as UAV, MPA, MPSS, LIFT, MRCA and Medium Range GBAD to name a few

    Actually according to a calculation by someone smarter than me, we have been spending only 1 per cent since 2016. The figure dropped to 0.90 per cent when they first announced the 2019 budget it went back to 1 per cent after they added the extra allocation three weeks later

  21. @ kamal

    Aussie cost statement is always for the through life costs, ie from contract signing to retirement. So it includes the price of the weapon, supporting facilities to be built, maintenance cost, upgrade cost, and retirement costs.

    If we can get a constant USD4.5-5.0 billion per Rancangan Malaysia for development budget, with a proper planning taking into consideration of all 3 services, IMO many things can be done.

    My planning assumption
    Development budget for each 5 year Rancangan Malaysia
    USD2.0 bil for TLDM
    USD1.6 bil for TUDM
    USD1.1 bil for TDM
    from Home Ministry budget – USD0.5 bil for APMM

    Something for TDM (why the plenty of MRAPs? to prepare for ARMY 2NextG requirements of running 2 fronts at the same time. 1 armoured PT-91+adnan brigade, 1 mechanized gempita brigade, 1 motorized MRAP brigade, 2 independent motorized MRAP battalion in East Malaysia, 1 motorized MRAP battalion equipment for UN)

    RMK12 2021-2025 USD1.1bil
    169 AV8 Gempita batch2 0.5
    225 J-LTV 0.1
    70 PT-91M batch2 0.2 refurbished PT-91 include upgrade batch1
    150 Polaris DAGOR A1 0.03 10PARA
    30 ZBD-03 IFV 0.06 10PARA
    90 LG-1 105mm 0.1
    72 LIG Nex1 Raybolt ATGM 0.05 (replacement for ERYX, Metis-M)

    RMK13 2026-2030 USD1.1bil
    225 New MRAP 0.25
    225 J-LTV 0.1
    36 UH-60 used EDA 0.25
    36 VL-MICA 0.25 (replacement for Jernas)
    40 Hawkeye 105mm J-LTV 0.1
    60 LIG Nex1 Chiron MANPAD 0.05 (replacement for IGLA)

    RMK14 2031-2035 USD1.1bil
    225 New MRAP 0.25
    40 155mm Towed Howitzer 0.25
    16 HQ-16 MR-GBAD 0.3
    ?? Electronic Warfare 0.2

    Something for TUDM

    Something for TLDM (9 Gowinds, 6 Subs, 4 large Frigate all at the current funding level)

    Something for APMM (20 OPVs and more)

    BTW currently both Vietnam and Indonesia are looking at getting large Frigates, something that is more than 4,000 tons. Vietnam looking at Damen Crossover designs while Indonesia is looking at Iver Huidfeldt and De Zeven Provinciën class Frigates.

  22. @Neb
    Yep. China will find an effective counter real soon. Come again which neighbour can be a potential threat to Australia? New Zealand? No way! Indonesia? Are their submarines going to be as top spec as these Attack class?

    Meanwhile around Malaysia we have many not-so-friendly neighbours.

    White Paper? Sure, why not show our underwear colours as well?

  23. White paper is not a secret. Many nations release their white paper to public. White paper is an outlook of a nations about the future, their policy, and probability of threat in the future.

    “Meanwhile around Malaysia we have many not-so-friendly neighbours.”

    Which neighbour are you talking about?

    “BTW currently both Vietnam and Indonesia are looking at getting large Frigates, something that is more than 4,000 tons. Vietnam looking at Damen Crossover designs while Indonesia is looking at Iver Huidfeldt and De Zeven Provinciën class Frigates.”

    They are deserve to have it. Indonesia is the biggest archipelago in the world and vietnam has china at their in their front door.

  24. neb “Oh those dumb aussies, now everyone is gonna get asw gear, how can they publicise such super sensitive information.”

    What details of the subs exactly, did they release? Are you referring to the fact that they are buying them?

    joe “Yep. China will find an effective counter real soon. ”

    Easy for you to say, but there is no such thing as a completely effective solution. There are only actions that complicate an adversary’s planning and cause him to devote resources, time and precaution for the sake of countermeasures.

    joe “White Paper? Sure, why not show our underwear colours as well?”

    It’s not as if others are unable to deduce our intentions, options and abilities without a white paper. These are fairly easy to dissect as they are borne out of rather well-known and predictable factors such as our national interests and the resources we have available.

    Or as if we can’t place detailed versions of the paper under various levels of official secrecy.

  25. More on things that we need to consider in our defence white paper.

    This is the prediction of what the chinese navy would look like in 2030. We need to plan on how can we can equip ourselves to give some deterrent to chinese navy and coast guard in our EEZ. What we need to avoid is to have the chinese repeat the Mischief reef scenario to happen in beting pattiggi ali or beting raja jarom. We would not only lose our fishing grounds, but our oil and gas fields too.

  26. Another thing to add.

    In defence, it is not essential for us to win a conflict against a bigger stonger nation like china. What is important is for us capable to defend ourselves in probably the first few weeks of conflict, fight back and force everyone to the negotiation table to diplomatically sort out the mess.

    But against something like the abu sayyaf or the sulu sultanate, yes we need to be capable to decisively win and destroy them.

  27. @ AM

    “But one needs to have credible means to be taken seriously in such a situation”

    I agree that we need to have credible means to be taken seriously in such a situation. That is why we need a defence white paper with clear security threats and measurable defence objectives. For south china sea, IMO our peacetime credible means would be shouldered by APMM, with OPVs that could shadow chinese coast guard ships and prevent them from harassing malaysian fishermen and oil & gas operations. To prepare for possible conflicts, IMO the most survivable systems, and a credible deterrance would be the submarines, and long range fighters that is able to launch stand-off anti-ship missiles.

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