US-UK-Australia Pact to Face China and Give Aussies Nuclear Submarine Technology

Two tug boats direct the Ohio-class nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) as it departs from the submarine tender USS Emory S Land (AS 39). Michigan, homeported in Bangor, Wash., is on a deployment of the western Pacific. / U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Chelsea Mandello/Released

As part of the deepening defense ties between the U.S., the UK, and Australia bolstered under Team Trump to challenge China, the Biden administration has now formalized a new defense pact between the three powers called ‘AUKUS,’ an abbreviation of all three countries’ names.

As part of this renewed effort, Britain and the U.S. have promised Australia advanced nuclear submarine technology to build its first nuclear-powered boats.

This new capability will allow Australian submarines to roam much farther, longer, and be stealthier than their current sub force can. These are important factors for effectively patrolling the vast reaches of the Pacific and Indian oceans.

China has a fleet of 60 submarines, including six nuclear-powered attack subs, according to a Nuclear Threat Initiative report from February.

In pursuing this US-UK sub-plan, Australia scrapped a $90 billion order for 12 French-designed submarines, which the French bitterly complained about, saying Biden acted like Trump in undermining their deal.

To be clear, this new agreement is about nuclear-powered subs, not nuclear-armed subs. A senior U.S. official said on background:

I do want to underscore that the Biden administration remains deeply committed to American leadership in [nuclear] non-proliferation. This is nuclear propulsion. Australia has no intention of pursuing nuclear weapons.

Previously, in 68 years, the U.S. has only previously shared nuclear propulsion technology with one other country – the U.K. in 1958.

The official added that the U.S. move to share nuclear propulsion technology with Australia “will allow us to sustain and to improve deterrence across the Indo-Pacific.

“This is a fundamental decision that binds decisively Australia to the United States and Great Britain for generations,” the official said.

According to Defense One:

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., applauded the deal, saying that it is a “concrete” step to counter Beijing.

“Partnering with Australia on a new nuclear-powered submarine fleet is a huge investment in the long-term health of our alliances and sends a clear message of strength to Chairman Xi,” Sasse said in a statement. “The President’s Asia team deserves credit for jumpstarting this important work — but we still need more urgency.” ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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D.M. Whiteside
D.M. Whiteside
1 month ago

Good luck, Australia. At least one of these partners may be unreliable. Perhaps it’s the one that can’t remember your name.

Rio Sam
Rio Sam
1 month ago

Friggen AU is in CCP pocket.. This is much more deceiving to the US population…

John J
1 month ago

War with China is eminent, lets get it done correctly

William J de Seve
William J de Seve
1 month ago
Reply to  John J

The word is “imminent.” And I pray to God this is not true…Heaven help us!

Jawad
Jawad
1 month ago

We have not won a ‘police action’ or ‘occupation’ (translation: half-assed ‘war’ or political football) since WWII. What makes anyone think we will succeed with Beijing Joe behind the wheel? Look how he abandoned all our Western allies in Afghanistan. Abandoned the nation to a gaggle of illiterate goat-herders and gifted them precious American technology, to boot! Our only hope is that in using it the Tally-buggers will blow themselves to meet Allah and the 72 virgins.


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