The subcontract with Aukus will help maintain security and keep the oceans clear, Sunak says


The UK, US and Australia will work together to “keep our oceans clear” with a new generation of nuclear-powered attack submarines, Rishi Sunak said.

The Prime Minister said the Aukus partnership would deliver “one of the most advanced” submarines “the world has ever seen” and create thousands of jobs in UK shipyards.

The new SSN Aukus submarines will be in service for the Royal Navy by the late 2030s under the plan, and will also give Australia its first nuclear-powered capability to counter Chinese activities in the Pacific.

The boats will replace Britain’s seven Astute-class submarines, and while there’s no confirmed figure for how many will be ordered, the size of the hunter-killer fleet could double, Royal Navy insiders have said.

Mr. Sunak met US President Joe Biden and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in San Diego to announce the next stage of the Aukus plan.

The prime minister said it was “the most significant multilateral defense partnership in generations”.

“Aukus combines our enduring commitment to freedom and democracy with the most advanced military, scientific and technological capabilities,” he said.

“For the first time ever, three submarine fleets will work together across the Atlantic and Pacific to keep our oceans free, open and prosperous for decades to come.”

He said Britain, the US and Australia were “three allies who have stood shoulder to shoulder for more than a century”.

He added: “Three peoples who shed blood together to defend our common values. And three democracies coming together again to fulfill this higher purpose of safeguarding liberty, peace and security now and for generations to come.”

The UK submarines are being built primarily by BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and Rolls-Royce, with the US using sensitive technology on the project.

Australia’s boats are built in South Australia using some British-made components and entered service in the early 2040s.

As part of the deal, Australia will purchase US Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s as a bridging measure until the new ships are operational.

The new submarines will also feature US technology.

Mr Sunak said: “The Aukus partnership and the submarines we are building in UK shipyards are a tangible demonstration of our commitment to global security.

“This partnership was founded on the foundation of our shared values ​​and our unwavering focus on maintaining stability in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

“And I am delighted that the plans we have announced today will see pioneering British design know-how protecting our people and allies for generations to come.”

The Aukus partnership was announced in 2021 as Australia sought to respond to China’s actions in the Pacific.

The latest phase comes as the UK released its updated integrated foreign and security policy review, which highlights China’s “more aggressive stance”.

The deal caused a diplomatic row with France, which had expected to supply diesel-powered submarines to the Canberra government.

The additional £5bn for defense announced by Mr Sunak will help in part to develop the next phase of the Aukus programme.

This will be followed by sustained funding over the next decade and will build on the £2 billion invested in our Dreadnought class submarine program last year.

The Aukus program will lead to closer cooperation between the three nations.

From 2023, Australian military and civilian personnel will embed themselves with the US Navy and Royal Navy and at the two countries’ industrial bases to speed up the training of Australian personnel.

The US plans to increase nuclear submarine port visits to Australia this year and the UK will increase visits in 2026.

From 2027, UK and US boats could be deployed to Australia on a “forward rotation” to help develop training and expertise.

The three nations insisted that the deal does not increase the risk of nuclear proliferation.

The ships will carry conventional weapons and the nuclear reactors will be sealed and will not need to be refueled during their lifetime. The subcontract with Aukus will help maintain security and keep the oceans clear, Sunak says

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