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Re: I think it was the other way around.
Australia did not originally want a nuclear boat, but this says the reason a nuclear hull type was chosen was for greater size: https://news.usni.org/2021/09/16/french-attack-boat-design-costs-opened-door-to-nuclear-australian-sub-says-expert
They wanted conventional, but decided it needed to be a nuke hull. They shopped accordingly, and settled on the French design, and the French company agreed to convert it. Did not work out well.
So, the decision was made to go nuclear after all. I agree with Lars, the French probably would (gladly) offer a nuke for sale, but it looks like the business relationship between France and Australia in the submarine category has gone pretty sour. They went with a "clean sheet."
The previous government didn't want to buy a nuclear boat so the French clobber together a diesel version of an existing design.
The current government prefers a nuclear boat.
Is France willing to share their nuclear tech? It is one thing for them to offer the hull design with diesel electric propulsion. It is a whole other level to start letting Australia have their nuclear tech. A big part of this current deal is that the US and UK have made "a strategic decision" to share their nuclear tech with Australia.
It is already in production for the MN. And it is the nuclear version of the sub they were buying.
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