The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom announced a military and industrial agreement on Monday that includes the sale of three to five American nuclear submarines to Canberra and a program to build a new type of submarine for the British and Australian navies using American technology, in an effort to counter the Chinese regime’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific.
The American President, Joe Bidenmet in San Diego, California, with the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunakand the Australian “Prime Minister”, Anthony Albanianto announce this historic agreement which includes joint submarine patrols in the Pacific.
Biden stressed that this agreement “evidences ancient ties” between the three countries and underscored his “commitment” to a “free and open” Indo-Pacific.
“I want to make it clear to the whole world from the start that these submarines are not nuclear-armed, they have a nuclear engine. Australia is a proud state that is nuclear-free and wants to stay that way,” he said. added Biden.
For his part, Albanese indicated that “AUKUS is our way of facing the future” and recalled the “common tradition of service to the cause of peace and sacrifice in the name of freedom”. “We respect and honor our past and with the AUKUS we look to the future.” He added: “This is the biggest single investment in Australia’s defense capability in our history.”
As part of the deal, Australia will buy three US Virginia-class nuclear submarines in the early 2030s, with an option to buy two more if needed, the US national security adviser told reporters . JakeSullivanon the way to San Diego.
The project will result in British and Australian production and operation of a new class of submarines – SSN-AUKUS – built in Britain and Australia to a British design, using Virginia-class technology, said another senior US official.
“The first British submarines built to this design will be delivered in the late 2030s. (…) and the first Australian submarines will follow in the early 2040s,” said a British statement.
As part of the deal, US and UK submarines will also be deployed to Western Australia to help train Australian crews and enhance deterrence.
The US goal is to begin these rotating deployments with a single submarine from 2027 and, within a few years, increase the number to four US submarines and one British, he explained.
The first phase of the plan is already underway with Virginiaa nuclear-powered cruise missile attack submarine, currently on a visit to Perth, Australia, officials said.
AUKUS will be the first time Washington has shared nuclear technology since it did so with Britain in the 1950s. China has condemned AUKUS as an illegal act of nuclear proliferation.
Australian Minister of Defense Richard Marlestold Parliament in Canberra last week that the submarines, whose missions will depend on Australian interests, have the potential to operate in wartime, although their ‘real intention’ is to maintain peace and stability in this region where they look with fear at the growing influence of China.
The submarines – which will operate with Australian, British and American crews – pose “a serious nuclear proliferation risk” for China, according to a spokeswoman for the Asian giant’s Foreign Ministry, who urged members of the ‘AUKUS to abandon their mission. Mentality of war”.
At the time, the announcement sparked a diplomatic crisis between Australia and France as it involved the cancellation of a contract with French shipping company Naval to develop conventional submersibles for Canberra.
The new submarines will allow Australia to enter, within the next decade, the club of nations with nuclear-powered submersibles, which includes the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, the France and India.
(With information from Reuters and EFE)