Submarine deal will keep oceans free, claims Sunak
The UK, US and Australia will work together “keeping our oceans free” with a new generation of nuclear-powered attack submarines, Rishi Sunak said yesterday. The prime minister said the Aukus partnership would deliver “one of the most advanced” submarines the world has ever known, creating thousands of jobs in British shipyards.
The new SSN-Aukus submarines will be in operation for the Royal Navy by the late 2030s under the plan, and will also give Australia its first nuclear-powered capability as it seeks to counter Chinese activities in the Pacific. The boats will replace the UK’s seven Astute-class subs and while there is no confirmed number of how many will be ordered, the size of the hunter-killer fleet could double, Royal Navy insiders said.
Mr Sunak met US president Joe Biden and Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in San Diego to announce the next stage of the Aukus plan.
The PM said: “Aukus matches our enduring commitment to freedom and democracy with the most advanced military, scientific, and technological capability. For the first time ever, it will mean three fleets of submarines working together across both the Atlantic and Pacific, keeping our oceans free, open, and prosperous for decades to come.”
President Joe Biden said it will bolster the group’s ability to respond to global threats. Mr Biden made the announcement at Naval Base Point Loma together with Mr Sunak and Mr Albanese. The president made clear that the submarines would not be armed with nucelar weapons. “Simply stated, we’re putting ourselves in the strongest possible position to navigate the challenges of today and tomorrow,” he said.
The UK’s submarines will mainly be built by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and Rolls-Royce, with the US sharing sensitive technology for the project. Australia’s boats will be built in South Australia, using some components manufactured in the UK, and will be in service in the early 2040s.
As part of the agreement, Australia will buy US Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s as a stop-gap measure until the new vessels are operational.
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