Australia to buy up to five nuclear submarines from the United States | Military News

The submarines are part of the AUKUS pact with the UK, which could also jointly develop a vessel with Australia.

Australia is set to buy up to five Virginia-class nuclear submarines in the 2030s as part of a landmark Pacific security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom, according to four US officials.

Under the so-called AUKUS deal, at least one American submarine will visit Australian ports in the coming years, and by the end of the 2030s a new class of submarines will be built with British designs and American technology, one of the officials said. Reuters news agency.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is due to meet US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in San Diego on Monday to reveal AUKUS’ next steps. The pacific security pact first announced in September 2021 is seen as an attempt to counter China’s growing power and assertive positioning in the region and has been condemned by Beijing.

Two of the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that after annual port visits, the United States would deploy submarines to Western Australia by around 2027.

In the early 2030s, Australia would purchase three Virginia-class submarines and have the option of purchasing two more.

Australia has an existing fleet of six conventionally powered Collins-class submarines, which will have their service life extended until 2036. Nuclear submarines can stay underwater longer than conventional submarines and are more difficult to detect.

Officials did not give details on the planned new class of submarines, including offering details on production sites.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing multiple unnamed sources, that the UK had “succeeded in its bid to sell British-designed nuclear submarines to Australia” and that Sunak was “talking about it” when he spoke to ministers about it.

He suggested the United States’ Virginia-class submarines would be a ‘stop-gap’ while Australia and the UK worked together on designing a next-generation submarine from the ship. existing Astute class, noting that the complexity of the task meant it might not be ready until the 2040s.

The Pentagon referred questions to the White House, which declined to confirm details of any upcoming announcement. The UK Embassy in Washington, DC did not comment directly on the Reuters report, but repeated an announcement from London that Sunak would travel to the US for further discussions on AUKUS.

The Australian Embassy in Washington, DC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under the original AUKUS deal, the US and UK agreed to provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

Currently, no party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) other than the five countries that the treaty recognizes as weapon states – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – does not have nuclear submarines.

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