Home SECURITY & DEFENCE AUKUS: Defence Ministers of UK, Australia & United States meet in California

AUKUS: Defence Ministers of UK, Australia & United States meet in California

by EUToday Correspondents
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  • Ground-breaking defence partnership of Australia, UK and USA (AUKUS) accelerates and strengthens.
  • Key next stages for military maritime programmes outlined at key Ministerial meeting at the Defense Innovation Unit Headquarters, California
  • Increased training for sailors on nuclear-powered submarines.

The Ground-breaking defence partnership of Australia, UK and USA (AUKUS) has entered a new phase as the Defence Ministers of the UK, Australia and United States met to advance new programmes on threat detection, quantum technology and autonomous systems.

Strengthening security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, the Ministers revealed new combined future exercises will improve each nations’ ability to work together, enhance capability development, and test the joint operation of uncrewed platforms, radically improving a shared ability to tackle emerging threats.

Speaking at the Defense Innovation Unit Headquarters in California, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin emphasised the opportunity to meet global security challenges through closer relationships between our Armed Forces.

The Ministers highlighted that all three nations are progressing towards more seamless defence and industrial collaboration, better information and technology sharing, and greater resilience, helping develop joint capabilities to meet threats and deter aggression.

UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps

“Today AUKUS enters a new phase.

“Together with our partners in the US and Australia we have strengthened our alliance to bring our Armed forces closer than ever and ensure our nations are protected from new and advanced threats.

“As the world becomes more dangerous, AUKUS only becomes more important in ensuring the UK and our allies maintain a strategic advantage.

“That’s why we’ve today driven forward joint programmes on threat detection, quantum technology and autonomous systems.

“This progress will radically improve our shared ability to tackle emerging threats and demonstrates our commitment to making our militaries more lethal, more connected and more prepared,” – UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps.

Beyond collaboration on the future Class of conventionally-armed nuclear powered submarines, the second pillar of AUKUS will see unprecedented collaboration in advanced capabilities and technologies, with many key progress updates shared publicly after the meeting including:

  • Strengthening cyber capabilities across the three AUKUS partners, including protecting critical communications and operations systems.
  • Improving anti-submarine warfare capabilities by being able to jointly process data from each nations’ sonobuoys – used to detect and identify objects in the water – and sharing it with multiple undersea systems and P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
  • Integrating the ability to launch and recover undersea vehicles from torpedo tubes on current submarines to deliver strike, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.
  • Developing quantum technologies to support global positioning and enhance stealth in undersea capabilities, including future SSN-AUKUS submarines.

During the meeting, Ministers also highlighted the exceptional progress made on Pillar 1 of AUKUS which will result in Australia acquiring a conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability, SSN-AUKUS, which will also be used by the UK.

This includes increased training opportunities for Australian sailors in the UK and US, and more planned visits of US and UK nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

AUKUS partners reaffirmed their shared commitment to upholding the highest standard for nuclear non-proliferation.

The first generation of AUKUS nuclear submarines will be built in the UK and Australia, based on the UK’s world-leading submarine design, it was announced earlier this year.

In September 2021 the UK, Australia and the United States of America announced an historic, trilateral endeavour to support Australia to acquire a conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarine or ‘SSN’ – a partnership known as AUKUS.

Following an 18-month scoping period to establish the optimal pathway to Australia acquiring this capability, a model has been chosen based on the UK’s world-leading design and incorporating cutting-edge US submarine technology.

Australia and the UK will both build new submarines to this design, known as ‘SSN-AUKUS’, with construction of the UK’s submarines taking place principally in Barrow-in-Furness. Australia will work over the next decade to build up its submarine industrial base, and will build its submarines in South Australia with some components manufactured in the UK.

The first UK submarines built to this design will be delivered in the late 2030s to replace the current Astute-Class vessels, and the first Australian submarines will follow in the early 2040s.

Click here for more on AUKUS at EU Today

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