Australia to build Nuclear-Powered Submarines with US and UK

Australia to build Nuclear-Powered Submarines with US and UK

Australia has announced plans to purchase up to five nuclear-powered submarines from the US and build a new model with US and British technology, under a new alliance known as AUKUS.

President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a naval base in San Diego made this announcement.

The cruise missiles which nuclear-powered submarines are expected to be equipped with can strike foes from long distances, offering a potent deterrent to would-be attackers. The Australian government estimates the multi-decade project will cost almost $40 billion in the first 10 years, and create an estimated 20,000 jobs.


The move marks a significant new stage in the confrontation with China, which has built a sophisticated naval fleet and turned artificial islands into offshore bases in the Pacific.


In the face of the Chinese challenge, Britain is also moving to beef up its military capabilities, with more than $6 billion in additional funding over the next two years.

The funding will replenish and bolster vital ammunition stocks, modernize the UK’s nuclear enterprise, and fund the next phase of the AUKUS submarine program.


China has warned that AUKUS risks setting off an arms race and accused the three countries of setting back nuclear non-proliferation efforts. However, the United States and its allies argue that China is alarming countries across the Asia-Pacific with its threats to invade the self-governing democracy of Taiwan, as well as highlighting the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea.


The Australian government had previously been on track to replace its aging fleet of diesel-powered submarines with a $66 billion package of French vessels.


The abrupt announcement that it was backing out of that deal and entering the AUKUS project sparked a brief but unusually furious row between all three countries and their close ally France.


Compared to the Collins-class submarines due to be retired by Australia, the Virginia-class is almost twice as long. Also it carries 132 crew members, not 48.

However, the longer-term upgrade will require a long wait, with a senior US official stating that the British navy should get its “state of the art” SSN-AUKUS vessels in the late 2030s and Australia only in the early 2040s.

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