The Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A, designed by Naval Group (formerly DCNS) specifically for the Royal Australian Navy, will be the recipient of France’s most sensitive and protected submarine technology and will be the most lethal conventional submarine ever contemplated. DCNS was chosen by the Australian Government on 26 April 2016 to build twelve of the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A variant at a projected AUD$50 billion. Much of the works will be undertaken at ASC Pty Ltd in Adelaide, South Australia. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 or 2021.
Pump jet propulsion means the Shortfin Barracuda can move more quietly than submarines with obsolete propeller technology. In a confrontation between two otherwise identical submarines, the one with pump jet propulsion always has the tactical advantage. The sonar suite performance provided by Thales will be the best available ever for a submarine this size. It is this coupling of excellent acoustic discretion, leading edge detection capabilities and pathways for technology development that will grant the Commonwealth the capacity to remain ahead of any regional adversary now and in the future. By adopting DCNS’s technology, Australia will join an elite club of nations which includes only the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and France. The Shortfin Barracuda is a magnificent, inspiring submarine which will remain technologically superior until well into the 2060s.