The historical commitment of Australian and French troops fighting side by side in major conflicts over the last century is one of the founding elements of our defence cooperation. Remembrance of the common sacrifices has led to the establishment of a strong bilateral relationship between France and Australia.
Australian-French defence cooperation is multifaceted and takes place within a bilateral framework as well as through international organisations. It is based on a regional commitment to security and stability as well as on regular exchanges on a strategic, operational and tactical level.
Regional cooperation is a good example of the high level of our relationship. The presence of French troops in the Pacific facilitates regular and high-quality contacts between the French and Australian defence forces. This involves disaster relieve (FRANZ agreement) and fishery surveillance operations, joint exercises in New Caledonia (Croix du Sud) as well as participation of French forces in regional Australian exercises (Pitch Black and Kakadu).
Defence cooperation is based on the organisation of regular meetings between headquarters and between Foreign Affairs and Defence officials. These regular consultations are complemented by visits from military, civilian and industrial authorities within the defence domain, and also frequent calls from French naval vessels in Australian ports.
A defence cooperation agreement facilitating our reciprocal activities will form the framework for a strengthening of our bilateral relationships in the field of defence.
Finally, the signing in December 2005 of contracts between the Australian Defence Force and French industrials to provide defence equipment bears witness to the promising commercial perspectives in this field for companies which are able to establish local subsidiaries, as well as the renowned quality of French defence equipment.
A relationship of trust has developed between the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA) and the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) which cooperate efficiently in the management of programs aimed at equipping the armed forces of two countries with similar materiel, in particular helicopters (Tiger, NH/MRH 90).