AUKUS | Presentation of the plan to deliver nuclear submarines to Australia
Defence Redefined
Published on 14/03/2023 at 11:45

The US, Australia, and the UK unveiled on Monday details of a plan to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Canberra in the early 2030s to counter China’s ambitions in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Speaking at a ceremony held at a US Navy base in San Diego, California, in the presence of Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and his British counterpart, Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden assured that his country could not have “better friends”, hailing the AUKUS alliance.

Albanese underlined that his country is making the biggest investment in its history through this partnership, while Sunak commented that three submarine fleets will work together in the Atlantic and Pacific to keep the oceans free for many decades.

According to the Australian government, this project, which will cost almost 40 billion dollars in the first ten years, will create about 20,000 jobs.

Also read: AUKUS Pact | Leaders’ Joint Statement – VIDEO

Three phases

This attack submarine program, which has the ambition to change the Western military presence in the Pacific, will develop in three phases, according to the White House.

It will also be based on a “crucial” principle, as Biden stated: these submarines will be nuclear-powered, but will not carry nuclear weapons, in order to respect the principle of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The first phase will involve familiarizing Australia with nuclear technology and nuclear-powered submarines. The aim is to deploy four American and one British submarines at the Australian base in Perth from 2027 on a rotating basis.

Then, after Congress gives its go-ahead, Australia will buy three American Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines, with an option to buy two more. Deliveries will begin in 2030.

In the third and most ambitious phase of the program the US, Australia, and Britain will work together on a new generation of attack submarines, which will be called the SSN AUKUS. These are expected to be delivered in the late 2030s and early 2040s.

Also read: Australia | First step in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines under AUKUS


China has condemned the AUKUS alliance as an illegal nuclear proliferation act. The plan poses serious risks of nuclear proliferation, undermines the international non-proliferation system, ignites an arms race, and harms peace and stability, China’s permanent mission to the UN said on Twitter.

Asked if he was concerned about Beijing viewing the nuclear submarine agreement as an act of aggression, Biden responded negatively. The US President added that he is going to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping soon, without specifying when.

For his part, Australian Defence Minister, Richard Marles, pointed out that his country has informed China about the agreement, while Mao Ning, representative of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated yesterday, Monday, that she calls the USA, the UK, and Australia to abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game.

None of the three leaders who met in San Diego yesterday made clear references to China, but Biden did make an indirect reference. He stated that the AUKUS alliance will ensure that the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open.

Source: APA MPA

Also read: EU Summit in Slovenia | The AUKUS agreement on the agenda of European leaders




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