Australia eyes nuclear submarines in pact

·2-min read


* Australia has joined the US and UK in a new trilateral security pact called AUKUS

* Australia will get access to top-secret nuclear-powered submarine technology to build a new fleet in Adelaide

* The government will not pursue nuclear weapons or a civil nuclear capability

* The submarines will not be armed with nuclear weapons

* Nuclear propulsion systems will be made in either the UK or the US and brought to Australia to be inserted in the boats

* Submarines will not need to be refuelled

* The three governments will launch an 18-month consultation process to assess workforce, training requirements, production timelines and ensure compliance with non-proliferation agreements

* Australia will build at least eight boats with construction expected to start by the end of this decade, and the first submarines in the water before 2040

* AUKUS will promote deeper information and technology sharing

* That includes security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains

* AUKUS will also mean further collaboration on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities

* In a joint statement, the three governments said the endeavour would help sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region


* Tomahawk cruise missiles, to be fielded on Hobart class destroyers, enabling maritime assets to strike land targets at greater distances with better precision

* Extended range joint air-to-surface standoff missiles will enable our F/A-18 A/B Hornets in future, our F-35A Lightning II, to hit targets at a range of 900 kilometres

* Long-range anti-ship missiles for the F/A-18F Super Hornet

* Continuing collaboration with the United States to develop hypersonic missiles

* Precision strike guided missiles for land forces, capable of destroying, neutralising and suppressing diverse targets from over 400km

* Accelerating $1 billion for Australian-based guided weapons manufacturing


* Loss of jobs and $2.4 billion blown on the French submarine project, with compensation still to be worked out

* Irritating China, which says Australia, the US and UK need to "shake off their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice", and further militarising the region

* Fuelling political debate over whether the government has broader intentions for a nuclear industry.

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