Since the confirmation of the cancellation of the contract for the acquisition of 12 Shortfin Barracuda conventional propulsion submarines designed by the French Naval Group, and the integration of Canberra in a tripartite alliance with the United States and Great Britain Brittany including, among other things, the sale of American nuclear attack submarines, the defense community is in turmoil, especially in France. "Stab", "Treason" .. there is no lack of qualifiers concerning the substance, but also the form with which this decision was made public, seriously damaging the international image of the French military naval industry for de many years. On the other hand, very few, including among the Anglo-Saxon media, seem to care about the geopolitical consequences implied by such a decision. However, these are both numerous, and potentially extremely dangerous, both for peace in the Indo-Pacific theater, and on the whole planet.
For forty years, Americans, British, Russians, French and Chinese had indeed a common tacit reading of the non-proliferation treaty. While this strictly prohibited the export or transfer of nuclear weapons technology, this also extended, by capillarity, to the use of nuclear energy as a source of energy for military equipment. In other words, there is no question, for the 5 permanent members of the Security Council, of letting a new actor enter their inner circle, unless the latter manages by himself to acquire the technologies necessary to design a reactor capable of 'enter a submarine or a warship. In fact, the fleet of nuclear-powered submarines remained restricted to these countries alone. India developed its own reactor which enabled it to integrate this group with the Arihant class SSBNs, and which enabled Moscow to hire an Akula class nuclear attack submarine. And if France is supporting Brazil in its nuclear attack submarine program, in any case it does not participate in the design of the reactor itself, its assistance being limited to its integration into a ship.
In fact, when Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrisson announce that the United States and Great Britain will export ANS to Australia, a country which does not even have a civilian nuclear program, and which banned there A little while yet access to its ports to nuclear-powered submarines, the 3 men are breaking all the unspoken rules which made it possible to limit the proliferation of this type of weaponry in the world. This point is not ignored, Joe Biden himself having indicated that all efforts will be made to respect the non-proliferation pact. If there is any doubt that it will indeed be respected in the letter, it will unquestionably be transgressed in the spirit. From then on, nothing now prevents Beijing from selling ANS to Islamabad or Pyongyang, like Moscow from offering its own Yasen-M in New Delhi, Cairo or Caracas within a timeframe that we imagine very short. This paradigm shift may even suit Paris, the Suffren class being by far the ANS offering the best performance-price ratio at the moment in the West, with a construction cost of around $ 1,2 billion, against $ 1,9 billion for the British Astute, and nearly $ 2,8 billion for the American Virginia, and opportunities in South Korea, India or Brazil.
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