The latest round of Senate estimates has seen Defence confirm that a partnership between ASC and Naval Group for the $50 billion Future Submarine project was proposed by the French designer, with accusations from crossbenchers that the government has deliberately sought to exclude ASC.

Under questioning from Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick, Defence officials confirmed that Naval Group did engage with ASC and propose a partnership with the sovereign shipbuilder for the $50 billion project.

Despite these proposed partnerships, Defence is currently working on the Strategic Partnership Alliance (SPA), which Defence officials confirmed would commit Australia to using Naval Group Australia for the build of the 12 submarines. “There was talk of involvement with ASC in various forms and also the arrangements in which Naval Group would put in place to deliver the submarines,” Rear Admiral Greg Sammut told Senate estimates.

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