Australia to get nuclear subs in new US, British partnership

2021/09/001828c0-800-1631772729.jpg
Read: 331     10:43     16 September 2021    

The United States has announced a new alliance with Australia and Britain to strengthen military capabilities in the face of growing rivalry with China, including a new Australian nuclear submarine fleet and cruise missiles.


The announcement of the alliance was made in a video meeting by US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.

It met with swift pushback from France, which has been negotiating a multi-billion-dollar sale of conventional submarines to Australia.

Mr Biden said the work to enable Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines would ensure that they had "the most modern capabilities we need to maneuver and defend against rapidly evolving threats."

The submarines, the leaders stressed, will not be nuclear armed, only powered with nuclear reactors.

Mr Morrison later announced Australia would also acquire long-range US Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The three leaders did not mention China in unveiling the partnership, dubbed AUKUS, but their intent was clear.

"Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific. This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Johnson said they would work "hand in glove to preserve stability and security in the Indo-Pacific."

 

On a visit to southeast Asia last week, US Vice President Kamala Harris accused China of "actions that... threaten the rules-based international order," particularly its aggressive claims in the South China Sea, where frequent territorial disputes have erupted between China and its neighbors in recent years.

Technical and naval representatives from the three countries will spend the next 18 months deciding how to carry out Australia's upgrade, which Mr Johnson said would be "one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world, lasting for decades."

In addition to the submarine fleet, a senior Biden administration official said AUKUS will combine forces on "cyber, AI - particularly applied AI - quantum technologies and some undersea capabilities as well."

The official underlined repeatedly how "unique" the decision is, with Britain being the only other country the United States has ever helped to build a nuclear fleet.

"This technology is extremely sensitive," the official said. "We view this as a one-off."

With China building up its own navy and repeatedly testing decades of US military dominance across Asia, the creation of AUKUS, with its focus on submarines, is "meant to send a message of reassurance and a determination to maintain a strong deterrent stance," the official said.

Even if not carrying nuclear weapons, the new submarines will allow Australia to "play at a much higher level," the official said.

"Nuclear powered submarines really maintain superior characteristics of stealth, speed, maneuverability, survivability and really substantial endurance," the official said.

"You will see much deeper interoperability along our navies and our nuclear infrastructure.

"This is a fundamental decision, fundamental. It binds Australia... and the United States and Great Britain for generations."

Mr Biden, in an attempt to placate the French government, said France is a "key partner and ally" in the Indo-Pacific.

However the new alliance torpedoed Australia's conventional submarine deal with France, which had been personally backed by President Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Morrison confirmed Australia would not proceed with that deal.

France's foreign ministry said in a statement that the decision to go with US submarines was "contrary to the letter and the spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia."

The submarine contract with France was worth around Aus$50 billion (€31bn) at the time of signing.

More recently the overall deal was estimated at some Aus$90, taking into account currency fluctuations and cost overruns.



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News Line

Australia to get nuclear subs in new US, British partnership

2021/09/001828c0-800-1631772729.jpg
Read: 332     10:43     16 September 2021    

The United States has announced a new alliance with Australia and Britain to strengthen military capabilities in the face of growing rivalry with China, including a new Australian nuclear submarine fleet and cruise missiles.


The announcement of the alliance was made in a video meeting by US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.

It met with swift pushback from France, which has been negotiating a multi-billion-dollar sale of conventional submarines to Australia.

Mr Biden said the work to enable Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines would ensure that they had "the most modern capabilities we need to maneuver and defend against rapidly evolving threats."

The submarines, the leaders stressed, will not be nuclear armed, only powered with nuclear reactors.

Mr Morrison later announced Australia would also acquire long-range US Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The three leaders did not mention China in unveiling the partnership, dubbed AUKUS, but their intent was clear.

"Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific. This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Johnson said they would work "hand in glove to preserve stability and security in the Indo-Pacific."

 

On a visit to southeast Asia last week, US Vice President Kamala Harris accused China of "actions that... threaten the rules-based international order," particularly its aggressive claims in the South China Sea, where frequent territorial disputes have erupted between China and its neighbors in recent years.

Technical and naval representatives from the three countries will spend the next 18 months deciding how to carry out Australia's upgrade, which Mr Johnson said would be "one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world, lasting for decades."

In addition to the submarine fleet, a senior Biden administration official said AUKUS will combine forces on "cyber, AI - particularly applied AI - quantum technologies and some undersea capabilities as well."

The official underlined repeatedly how "unique" the decision is, with Britain being the only other country the United States has ever helped to build a nuclear fleet.

"This technology is extremely sensitive," the official said. "We view this as a one-off."

With China building up its own navy and repeatedly testing decades of US military dominance across Asia, the creation of AUKUS, with its focus on submarines, is "meant to send a message of reassurance and a determination to maintain a strong deterrent stance," the official said.

Even if not carrying nuclear weapons, the new submarines will allow Australia to "play at a much higher level," the official said.

"Nuclear powered submarines really maintain superior characteristics of stealth, speed, maneuverability, survivability and really substantial endurance," the official said.

"You will see much deeper interoperability along our navies and our nuclear infrastructure.

"This is a fundamental decision, fundamental. It binds Australia... and the United States and Great Britain for generations."

Mr Biden, in an attempt to placate the French government, said France is a "key partner and ally" in the Indo-Pacific.

However the new alliance torpedoed Australia's conventional submarine deal with France, which had been personally backed by President Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Morrison confirmed Australia would not proceed with that deal.

France's foreign ministry said in a statement that the decision to go with US submarines was "contrary to the letter and the spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia."

The submarine contract with France was worth around Aus$50 billion (€31bn) at the time of signing.

More recently the overall deal was estimated at some Aus$90, taking into account currency fluctuations and cost overruns.



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