Strategic cooperation: the United States provides Australia with nuclear submarines

Status: 03/14/2023 03:22

The United States wants to deliver up to five nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. It aims to counterbalance the Chinese buildup in the region. In the long term, both countries also want to develop a joint model with Great Britain.

Australia wants to buy up to five nuclear submarines from the USA and, in the long term, build a new generation of nuclear submarines together with the USA and Great Britain.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke at a meeting with US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in San Diego, California, about “the largest single investment in Australian defense capability in our entire history”.

Biden said the United States has ensured stability in the Indo-Pacific region for decades. A nuclear submarine alliance with Australia and Great Britain “will increase the prospects for peace for decades.” “These submarines are nuclear-powered and not nuclear-armed,” he stressed.

The United States and the United Kingdom sign a submarine deal with Australia

Tagesshaw 08:00 AM, 14.3.2023

Treat as part of a security alliance

The submarine deal is part of the Aukus Indo-Pacific security alliance that Australia, Britain and the United States formed a year and a half ago in response to China’s growing dominance in the region.

Specifically, Australia wants to buy three Virginia-class conventionally armed submarines from the United States. An option to purchase two more submarines is also planned. The US submarines are scheduled to be delivered during the 2030s.

In addition, Australia, the USA and Great Britain want to jointly build a new generation of nuclear submarines. These, too, should be nuclear powered, but conventionally armed. The project, which is based on a British submarine model, is named SSN-Aukus. Britain is scheduled to hand over the first of these submarines to the British Navy in the late 1930s, and Australia its first submarine to the Australian Navy in the early 1940s.

The American extradition had angered France

The three countries established the Aukus alliance in September 2021. Now Biden, Albanese, and Sunak have met at a naval base in San Diego and announced the nuclear submarine deal. In a joint statement, they affirmed that the alliance is committed to a “free and open Indo-Pacific” that is characterized by “security and stability.”

Australia wants to modernize its fleet with nuclear powered submarines. The deal is very important for Australia because the country itself does not have the expertise to build nuclear submarines. Nuclear powered submarines can travel long distances and are difficult for the enemy to locate. In the course of Aukus’ founding, Australia canceled a long-planned multi-billion dollar submarine deal with France. This led to angry responses from the French government and temporarily put an enormous strain on relations between Paris and Washington.

With the Aukus agreement, the USA, Great Britain and Australia want to counter the growing influence of China in the South Pacific. The region is increasingly becoming an arena of competition between China and the United States. Beijing has been trying to establish a greater military, political and economic presence in the South Pacific for some time. China strongly criticized the Ocos alliance. The government in Beijing describes it as “dangerous” and an attempt to corner China.

The US, UK and Australia agree to the submarine deal

Nina Barth, ARD Washington, March 14, 2023 5:58 am


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