BLUFNuclear-powered submarines are faster, quieter and don’t need to surface regularly—that’s why the AUKUS partnership is so vital to Australia and regional security.
Australia currently has a fleet of submarines, but they're ageing quickly. Australia has been seeking to replace them with new submarines through a deal with a French shipbuilder. That deal would have delivered conventional diesel-electric submarines, just like our current Collins Class. Instead of continuing with that arrangement, Australia is instead forming a new partnership with the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK)—AUKUS. Under this arrangement, the US and the UK will share their secrets to get an Australian nuclear fleet up and running. Why? Firstly, the UK and the USA trust each other, and they both trust Australia. And, of course, a boosted Australian presence in the Indo-Pacific will exert Western influence in the region as China's power grows. Some fast facts:
Only the US, UK, France, Russia, China and India are currently operating nuclear subs, so the deal will see Australia joining an exclusive club.
There's no word yet on how much the new nuclear deal will cost.
The new subs won't have nuclear weapons but will be powered by nuclear reactors.
Nuclear-powered subs are faster, quieter and need to surface less often.
The UK and the US will work with Australia over the next 18 months to determine how Australia's new submarines will be built and delivered.
Sep 2021 ABC (Australia) Australia to get nuclear-powered submarines, will scrap $90b program to build French-designed subs
Sep 2021 AFR Going nuclear: PM to announce $90b French submarine deal is dead
Sep 2021 ASPI Lessons from the UK in Australia’s move to acquire nuclear-powered submarines
Sep 2021 The Conversation Why nuclear submarines are a smart military move for Australia — and could deter China further
Sep 2021 The Lowy Institute How nuclear subs could transform Australia, its alliance and Asia