SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated his government is close to reaching a decision on who will build Australia’s next fleet of submarines.
Tenders have been submitted by Japan, Germany and France for the contract to build 12 new submarines in a deal worth an estimated 50 billion Australian dollars ($36 billion) to replace the current Collins-class fleet.
In an interview with Sky News, Turnbull said Sunday the so-called Competitive Evaluation Process is nearing its end.
“That process is coming to a close and . . . the government will make a decision shortly,” he said
When that will be, however, depends on whether Australia will have what it calls a “double-dissolution election” on July 2.
The election, which will see both houses of parliament dissolved, will be called if two government bills fail to make it through the Senate for a second or third time, respectively.
A special sitting of parliament on April 18 will bring the Senate back to debate the bills.
Turnbull’s comments indicate the decision on who will receive the submarine contract will be made after the election if a double dissolution is called.
“Whether it is before the election, obviously, depends on the timing of the election,” he said.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. is battling for the submarine contract against Germany’s ThyssenKrupp AG and French defense firm DCNS.
An announcement on the possible double-dissolution election is expected by May 11.