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$3 billion take care of the U.K. will get Australia nearer to having a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines

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Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Defence Minister Richard Marles and Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron at Government House for the annual Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN), in Adelaide, Australia March 22, 2024.
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

Australia is about to supply 4.6 billion Australian {dollars} ($3 billion) to British trade to assist the development of nuclear-powered submarines and guarantee its new fleet arrives on time, the 2 international locations mentioned Friday.

The announcement got here a day after the 2 international locations signed a protection and safety pact to raised meet challenges reminiscent of China’s elevated exercise within the South China Sea and South Pacific.

United Kingdom Defence Minister Grant Shapps mentioned the submarine program was costly however essential.

“Nuclear-powered submarines are not cheap, but we live in a much more dangerous world where we are seeing a much more assertive region with China, a much more dangerous world all around with what’s happening in the Middle East and Europe,” Mr. Shapps instructed the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Countries need to invest in making sure that adversaries see we are serious about our security, defending freedom of navigation, for example.”

The 10-year deal introduced at an annual ministers’ gathering will increase capability on the Rolls-Royce manufacturing facility in Derby, U.K., to construct the nuclear reactors that can propel the submarines to be constructed by BAE Systems in Adelaide, Australia.

The Virginia-class submarines might be primarily from a U.K. design and could have a U.S. weapons system onboard.

Australia Defence Minister Richard Marles mentioned the settlement confirmed that the nuclear submarines program can be fulfilled and would create new manufacturing functionality for the AUKUS companions, referring to the grouping of Australia, the U.K. and the United States.

“These are big foundational decisions which demonstrate that the pathway to Australia acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine capability under the banner of AUKUS is happening, and the result of that right here is going to be the most advanced manufacturing in the nation and one of the most advanced manufacturing production lines in the world,” Marles instructed reporters Friday on the Osborne shipyard in Adelaide.

Australia is buying not less than three U.S. nuclear submarines from the early 2030s underneath the AUKUS settlement.

“Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States remain fully committed to this shared endeavour,” a joint trilateral assertion from Mr. Marles, Mr. Shapps and U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned Friday.

“These steps to grow Australia’s submarine construction and maintenance capability are critical to the AUKUS partnership, expanding trilateral industrial capacity and building the collective resilience of AUKUS partners to produce and sustain conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines for decades to come.”

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