The UK, US and Australia will work together to “keep our oceans free” with a new generation of nuclear-powered attack submarines, Rishi Sunak has said.
Mr Sunak met with US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanian in San Diego to announce the next step in the Aukus partnership plan.
The plan will provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia as it seeks to counter Chinese activities in the Pacific Ocean.
First announced in 2021, the Aukus partnership was Australia’s reaction to China’s actions. Since then, the UK has released its Integrated Foreign and Security Policy Review, which highlights China’s “more aggressive stance” .
“For the first time ever, this will mean three fleets of submarines working together across the Atlantic and the Pacific, keeping our oceans free, open and thriving for decades to come,” Sunak said.
He added that the collaboration would provide “one of the most advanced submarines” the world has ever seen” and will replace Britain’s seven Astute-class submarines.
Earlier on Monday, during a security and foreign policy review, Mr Sunak announced an additional £5 billion for defense which will partly help develop the next phase of the Aukus programme.
The UK will also provide expertise to build the new SSN-Aukus boats, creating jobs at UK shipyards in Barrow-in-Furness and Derby.
They will be operational for the Royal Navy by the end of the 2030s.
There is no confirmed number of orders, but the size of the hunter-killer fleet could double, Royal Navy insiders have said.
As part of the deal, the United States intends to sell Australia three Virginia-class nuclear submarines.
President Biden said the United States could ask for “no better partners” than the United Kingdom and Australia in keeping the Pacific secure.
Mr Albanese said the program will result in an investment of A$6bn (£3.3bn) in its industrial capacity over the next four years.
The Australian boats will be built in the south of the country, using some UK-made components, and will be in service in the early 2040s.
The three nations have insisted that the agreement does not increase the risk of nuclear proliferation. Nuclear reactors will be sealed with ships carrying conventional weapons.
Biden accepts invitation to visit Northern Ireland
During the same visit, Mr Biden said he intended to visit Northern Ireland after being asked to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
As Mr Sunak met the President at Naval Station Point Loma, San Diego, Mr Biden said: “I intend to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic. »
At the president’s invitation, Mr. Sunak said “we would love to have you,” to which Mr. Biden replied: “Twenty-five? It seems like yesterday.
Source: News 24