To counter China’s dominance in the Indo-Pacific region, the US, UK, and Australia have revealed details of their plan to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. Australia will receive its first nuclear-powered submarines from the US as part of the Aukus pact, at least three of them.
The allies will also work to build a brand-new fleet using cutting-edge technology, such as reactors manufactured by Rolls-Royce in the UK. The significant naval agreement has received harsh criticism from Beijing.
The three countries were charged with “walking further and further down the path of error and danger” by the Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday.
The Western partners had previously come under fire from China’s UN mission for allegedly undermining nuclear non-proliferation efforts.
According to US President Joe Biden, the deal was made to bring peace in the region and stressed the submarines would be “nuclear-powered, not nuclear-armed”. But he said the deal was made to bring peace in the region and stressed the submarines would be “nuclear-powered, not nuclear-armed”.
Speaking in San Diego, California, alongside the prime ministers of the UK and Australia, Rishi Sunak and Anthony Albanese respectively, Biden said the agreement would not jeopardize Australia’s pledge to remain a nuclear-free nation.
It represents a significant improvement in the military prowess of the US partner, Australia. The nation receives Washington’s advanced nuclear power technology, becoming just the second nation after the UK.
Australia will be able to launch long-range strikes against adversaries for the first time, and the submarines will be able to travel farther and quicker than the nation’s current diesel-engine fleet.
Australian military sailors will be sent to US and UK submarine bases starting this year to train on the nuclear-powered submarines, as per the agreement.
Before Canberra purchases three US-model Virginia-class submarines in the early 2030s – with options to purchase two more – they will base a limited number of nuclear submarines there beginning in 2027.
Following that, it is intended to design and construct a completely new SSN-AUKUS-class nuclear-powered submarine for the navies of the UK and Australia. This attack vessel will be constructed in Australia and Britain to a British design while incorporating technology from all three nations.
According to President Biden, all three nations are dedicated to ensuring that the Indo-Pacific area is free and open.
“We’re demonstrating once more democracies can deliver our own security and prosperity… not just for us but for the entire world by establishing this new partnership”, he said.
Additionally, he promised to spend $4.6 billion to increase the US’s ability to build submarines and to maintain its fleet of Virginia-class nuclear submarines.