DCNS's Philippe Japiot charged with corruption, spent much time in Australia before the award of the Australian AUD 50 Billion contract
What did DCNS (aka Naval Group) do with information on Ray Grigg's affair: L'Affarire Adelaide deepens
Then some recent reporting on escalating costs:
The AFR reported in May 2018:
Taxpayers will spend $100 billion to build and operate the new fleet of submarines, Defence Department officials have revealed for the first time as they also fended off warnings the naval shipbuilding program was at risk of cost blowouts and delays.
The Australian's reported on 2 October 2018:
It’s only when you look at how the original deal was done that you realise why the capital costs have risen from $50bn to $90bn (before it starts) and that add-ons take the total outlay to $220bn-plus over several decades.
And worse still, thanks to the research work of leading physicist Aidan Morrison and questions by Senator Rex Patrick and others, we now know there are grave doubts about the technology behind the submarine, which looks like a $220bn white elephant. Significantly, the French are shifting their ground on the technology.
And finally,against the backdrop of escalating costs ,this report ,where costs seem to be an irrelevant consideration:
The Government has grown so frustrated with the French company selected to build Australia's next fleet of submarines that Defence Minister Christopher Pyne refused to meet top officials visiting the country this week.
Naval Group was selected in 2016 to build 12 submarines for the Australian Navy, in the country's largest-ever defence contract worth $50 billion.
The ABC understands Mr Pyne will only meet the chief executive of the majority French state-owned company once a crucial document, the strategic partnering agreement (SPA), has been signed.
Negotiations on that document have stalled and it is feared they may not be resolved before next year's federal election.
Defence and industry figures have told the ABC that France and Australia will not be ready before 2019 to sign the document, which is needed before detailed design contracts can be finalised, and submarine construction begins.
PHOTO: Defence Minister Christopher Pyne wants the document signed before meetings. (ABC News: Nick Haggarty)
Sources familiar with the process say a goal to sign the vital SPA during a visit to Adelaide this week by French Minister Florence Parly has slipped off course, with fundamental differences that may not be reconciled before early next year.
Concerns over warranties and technology transfer are believed to be the main sticking points in the tough negotiations between the Australian Commonwealth and French-owned Naval Group.
The knock-on effects of delay on the SPA, which covers the guiding terms and conditions that govern the submarine program, and the likelihood of a federal election being called in the first quarter of next year threatens to create a "perfect storm" of uncertainty, with some risk that it could ultimately sink the French project entirely.
Ms Parly was accompanied to Australia this week by Naval Group chief executive Herve Guillou and project boss Jean-Michel Billig, but scheduled meetings between the two company representatives and Mr Pyne and Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo were cancelled.
Naval Group has declined to say whether it is disappointed that Mr Pyne refused to meet them, but has conceded the negotiations with Australia are "challenging" and "complex".
"Negotiation of the SPA is continuing to ensure we implement an equitable and enduring agreement to deliver the Future Submarine capability over the next 30 years," Naval Group said in a statement.
"Naval Group continues to enjoy a strong and collaborative relationship with the Commonwealth."
Another round of talks between Naval Group and the Defence Department has been scheduled for October in Canberra, but even if a broad agreement emerges next month, a finalised SPA document is unlikely to be signed before Christmas.
Federal Opposition figures have signalled that if the SPA is not completed by next year's election, Labor could order a review of the project if it wins office.
Asked today whether the agreement would be signed before the next election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government was working to the timetable that had been set out.
"The timetable for that has already been set out and we're working to that timetable," he said.
The ABC has contacted Mr Pyne for comment.
Topics: government-and-politics, defence-and-national-security, defence-forces, navy, defence-industry, australia