Saturday, April 1, 2023

Eyeing China, Joe Biden and allies unveil nuclear-powered submarine plan for Australia – Usky News

SAN DIEGO: The United States, Australia and Britain on Monday unveiled plans to provide Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines from the early 2030s to counter China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific.
Addressing a ceremony at the US naval base in San Diego, accompanied by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden called the agreement 2021 AUKUS Partnership part of a shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region with two of America’s “most staunch and capable allies”.
Sunak called it “a powerful partnership”: “It will mean for the first time that three fleets of submarines operating together in the Atlantic and Pacific will keep our oceans free for decades to come.”
A joint statement said that under the deal, the United States intends to sell Australia three US Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines, built by General Dynamics, in the early 2030s. There is an option to buy two more for Rs.
It said the multi-stage project would end with British and Australian production and operationalization of a new submarine class – SSN-AUKUS – a “tripartitely developed” vessel based on the UK’s next-generation design to be built in Britain and Australia And it would involve “state-of-the-art” American technologies.
Britain will take delivery of its first SSN-AUKUS submarine in the late 2030s, and Australia will receive its first submarine in the early 2040s. The ships will be manufactured by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.
Albanese said at the ceremony, “The AUKUS agreement we ratify here in San Diego represents the largest single investment in Australia’s defense capability in our history, strengthening Australia’s national security and stability in our region.” Is.”
An Australian defense official said the project would cost A$368 billion ($245 billion) by 2055.
AUKUS will be the first time Washington has shared nuclear-propulsion technology since it did so with Britain in the 1950s.
Biden insisted that the submarines would be nuclear-powered, not nuclear-armed: “There will be no nuclear weapons of any kind on these boats,” he said.
China has condemned AUKUS as an illegal act of nuclear proliferation. In launching the partnership, Australia also upset France by abruptly canceling a deal to buy French conventional submarines.
Asked whether he was concerned that China would view the AUKUS submarine deal as aggression, Biden replied “no.” He said he hoped to speak with Chinese leader Xi Jinping soon, but would not say when.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Friday pointed to Beijing’s own military build-up, including nuclear-powered submarines, saying: “We have communicated with them about AUKUS and asked them for more information about their intentions “
Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said Australia offered to share information about the submarine deal with China, but was not aware of any response from Beijing.
Under the agreement, US and British submarines will be stationed in Western Australia until 2027 to help train Australian crews and strengthen resistance. US officials said this would include four American submarines and one British over a few years.
Officials said this first phase of the plan is already underway with the US Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarine Asheville visiting Perth in Western Australia.
Big Questions and Big Investments
A senior US official said AUKUS reflected growing Indo-Pacific threats, not only from China in self-ruled Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea, but also from Russia, which has held joint exercises with China and North Korea .
Big questions remain about AUKUS, not least over tight US restrictions on sharing the extensive technology needed for the project and how long it will take to deliver the submarines, even despite the perceived threat posed by China. .
In a reflection of increased US production capacity, a second senior US official told Reuters it was “very likely” that one or two of the Virginia-class submarines sold to Australia would be vessels that were in US service, Something that would require congressional approval. ,
Analysts said that given China’s growing power and threats to re-engage with Taiwan if necessary, it was important to advance the second stage of AUKUS, which includes hypersonics and other weapons that can be deployed more quickly. Is.
British and Australian officials said this month that work was still needed to break down bureaucratic barriers to technology sharing and Monday’s announcement did not include this second step.
The second US official said Australia would contribute to increasing US and British submarine production and maintenance capability.
He said Washington was looking at “double digit billion” investment in its submarine industrial base for 2023-29 on top of the $4.6 billion already committed and the Australian contribution would be less than 15 per cent of the total.
Albanese said he expected AUKUS to invest A$6 billion in Australia’s industrial capacity over the next four years and create around 20,000 direct jobs over the next 30. He said that this would require an amount of about 0.15% of GDP per year.
Britain, which is due to leave the European Union in 2020, says AUKUS will help boost its economy’s low growth rate. Sunak said AUKUS is “forging relationships with our closest allies and providing security, new technology and economic benefits at home.”


- Advertisement -

More News

Latest NEWS

- Advertisement -