A colossal business venture, unprecedented partnership and common concern: China. Eighteen months after the formation of the Aucus alliance between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, the leaders of the three countries met on Monday, March 13, at the Point Loma Naval Base in San Diego (California). US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak have unveiled the phases of a development plan for nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarines that will link their countries for a very long time.. “A Historic Day”, He congratulated the President of the United States.
The three countries will specifically join forces to develop a new generation of attack submarines called “SSN-Aukus”. From this year, for training purposes, Australian personnel will be deployed on US and British submarines, which will also make more rounds in Australia.
The United States intends to transfer three used Virginia-class submarines to Australia from the early 2030s, once approved by the United States Congress. “Potential to sell two more if required”, referring to the joint press release. Washington will invest 2.4 billion dollars (about 2.2 billion euros) in its industrial bases, and 2.2 billion in the maintenance of Virginia submarines between 2023 and 2027, the first strong industrial challenge.
In the second phase, Canberra will receive new submarines, the SSN-Aukus, based on a British design but with American technologies on board. To date, Washington has shared this equipment only with London.
Three “Maritime Democracies” Confronting China
By the end of the 2030s, the United Kingdom should deliver the first of its production in Canberra. It will be necessary to wait twenty years, until the early 2040s, for Australia’s first submarine to be fully built on its soil. “Our program enhances the industrial capabilities of the three countries to produce and maintain nuclear-powered submarines that can operate together for decades, expands our individual and joint submarine presence in the Indo-Pacific, and contributes to security and global stability.”The statement said.
The ambitions are impressive, but their realization will take decades, raising strong questions about the three countries’ industrial, military and financial capabilities to take on the challenge. The absence of a common cost in official press releases and the distribution of commitments between each capital reinforces this question.
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