British designed BAE nuclear subs will power up Australian navy as part of AUKUS defence deal
Australia will operate a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines based on British designs as both countries modernise their armed forces as part of the AUKUS defence deal.
The new boats will be in operation in the late 2030s as part of the AUKUS deal – involving Australia, the UK and US.
It will follow a construction phase which will create thousands of jobs in the UK.
The new SSN-Aukus submarines will be in operation for the Royal Navy by the late 2030s under the plan.
And they will also give Australia its first nuclear-powered defence capability.
The UK’s submarines will mainly be built by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and Rolls-Royce.
Australia’s boats will be built in South Australia, using UK-manufactured components, while they will be in use in the 2040s.
Rishi Sunak, Australian PM Anthony Albanese and US President Joe Biden met in San Diego to announce the news.
Australia will buy US Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s as a stop-gap measure until the new vessels are operational.
What did UK politicians say?
Sunak said: “The Aukus partnership, and the submarines we are building in British shipyards, are a tangible demonstration of our commitment to global security.
“I am hugely pleased that the plans we have announced today will see pioneering British design expertise protect our people and our allies for generations to come.”
The AUKUS partnership was announced in 2021 as Australia sought to respond to China’s assertive actions in the Pacific.
It comes as the UK publishes its updated integrated review of foreign and security policy, which highlights China’s “more aggressive stance”.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said: “This is a significant step forward for our three nations as we work together to contribute to security in the Indo-Pacific and across the world.”
However, the three nations insisted that the deal did not increase the risk of nuclear proliferation.
The vessels carry conventional weapons and the nuclear reactors will be sealed shut and not require refuelling in their lifetimes.