Nuclear-powered submarines that will have the task of patrolling both the Pacific and the Atlantic. It is the pact signed in San Diego, California, by the Aukus allies (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) which will allow the submarine fleets of the three countries to cooperate: a historic partnership with the aim of counterbalancing the growing Chinese influence in the ‘Indo-Pacific. The US president, Joe Biden, and the prime ministers of the United Kingdom and Australia, Rishi Sunak and Anthony Albanese, met in the Californian city (where one of the most important military bases of the US Pacific Fleet is located) and announced the characteristics and the conditions of the programme, the first concrete step of the Aukus pact.
The US will share the technology of its submarines with its allies
Under the deal, the United States will sell between three and five Virginia-class submarines to Australia, starting in 2032; and for the first time in 65 years they will share the technology behind their nuclear-powered submarines with another country, allowing Australia to build its own vessels. The submarines will be manned by Australian sailors, trained to operate them, but could also include US and UK “pilots”. The project will be in phases and will culminate in the production by Australia and the United Kingdom of new nuclear-powered submarines that will use US technology and will be designated “Ssn-Aukus”. Britain will have those subs ready by the end of the 1930s, while Australia, which has yet to build its manufacturing facilities, will finish making them in the 1940s. The idea is that the different US, Australian and British navies can use any submarine and swap components, and that fleets can communicate using the same technology.
The announcement of the pact in 2021
The Aukus pact (acronym for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States) was announced on 15 September 2021; and at the time sparked a diplomatic crisis between Australia and France over the cancellation of a contract by French naval giant Naval to develop conventional submarines for Canberra.
Beijing: “In the Cold War mentality pact”
Beijing’s reaction is harsh: the Aukus program on submarines, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said “was born under a typical Cold War mentality, which will only stimulate an arms race, sabotage the international nuclear non-proliferation system and will damage regional peace and stability”. . “The latest joint statement by the USA, the UK and Australia – he added – demonstrates that the three countries, for the sake of their own geopolitical interests, completely ignore the concerns of the international communities and are walking more and more along the path of error and danger”.