The way DCNS explained the SMX at EURONAVAL 2014 as a submarine with a long rapid transit capability, long endurance and large warload, appears to be closely tailored to Australia's needs. The DCNS claim that the SMX is just a conventional (SSK) version of the not yet completed Barracuda SSN is an oversimplification.
DCNS has been unwilling to publically put forward any unit or program price for Australia. Perhaps DCNS will propose a program price to any Australian delegation at the Euronaval 2014 which ends on October 31, 2014?
The SMX's reliance on large banks of Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) would also make for a fundamentally different electrical network setup and weight-balance distribution than the Barracuda. This is assuming the batteries in the Barracuda are lead acid.
Returning to the LIBs - it would be much better if France itself trials the proposed LIBs under operational condition for years - making the LIBs a more mature and less risky technology if used in any Australian SMX.
In contrast the Soryu is known to have a diesel engine arrangement Japan itself has been using for years and the Soryu Mark 2s will have used LIBs for years before Australia becomes a customer (assuming Australia does).
Although the future SMX may contain enough diesel fuel for a range of 18,000 nautical miles this may be more than Australia wants or needs and not worth the cost in weight or likely price. This is noting that the current Collins class has a range of 11,500 nautical miles. Admittedly because Australia has not issued tender documents Australia's true range preferences are mysterious.
Navy Recognition later reports, October 10, 2014, http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2052 :
Xavier Mesnet, Marketing Director (Export of Submarines) at DCNS, gives Navy Recognition an exclusive preview of the SMX OCEAN that will be unveiled at Euronaval 2014. The interview was conducted at the confidential site of Bagneux where DCNS develops its combat management systems and conduct some research and development on future projects.
Xavier Mesnet presents the SMX OCEAN heavy SSK to be unveiled at Euronaval 2014.
The focus of DCNS engineers in developing this submarine was put on endurance and high sustained speed. The 4,700 tons SSK was designed for an endurance of 14,000 nautical miles (3 months autonomy) and a continuous transit speed of 14 knots for 1 week.
To achieve such performance, the propulsion system is based on DCNS' revolutionary second generation fuel cell. It consists in the combination of a diesel reformer (therefore only diesel is used for both the diesel engine and the AIP) with air fuel cell technology.
More details on this second generation fuel cell (which has already been tested by DCNS) as well as on the SMX OCEAN will be disclosed during Euronaval 2014.
The SMX OCEAN SSK is DCNS answer to the recent emergence of several heavy SSK projects such as the Type 216 by TKMS (~4,000 tons ), the KSS III project from South Korea (~3,000 tons) or the Soryu class of Japan (~4,000 tons).
DCNS already has the know how to design heavy submarines (few shipyards in the world are capable of designing and producing SSBNs and SSNs) and DCNS insists SMX OCEAN is more than a concept: Construction could start fairly rapidly since it is based on the already under production Barracuda SSN.