Australia finalizes purchase of US nuclear submarines


Australia officially embarked today on a much contested program to equip itself with nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new defense alliance with Britain and the United States. Defense Peter Dutton signed an agreement with British and American diplomats authorizing the exchange of “information on naval nuclear propulsion” between their countries. It is the first agreement signed and made public since the announcement in September by the three countries of their new defense alliance, named AUKUS, to deal with growing strategic tensions between the United States and China in the Pacific.

Cancellation of the contract with France

This alliance was accompanied by the cancellation by theAustralia of a mega-contract for the purchase of twelve French submarines with conventional propulsion for a value of 90 billion Australian dollars (55 billion euros), causing a lasting quarrel between Paris and Canberra. The deal will help Australia complete an 18-month study on the acquisition of submarines, Dutton said after signing the deal in Canberra on Monday with US Chargé d’Affaires Michael Goldman and the top -British commissioner to Australia Victoria Treadell. Details of the acquisition have yet to be decided, including whether Australia will opt for US or UK nuclear-powered attack submarines.

“With the access to information afforded by this agreement, as well as the decades of experience of our UK and US partners in the field of nuclear powered submarines, Australia will also be able to be a responsible manager. and reliable of this technology, ”Mr. Dutton said in a statement.

Mutual defense

Ahead of the signing ceremony, US President Joe Biden said in a memorandum approving the deal that it would improve the “mutual defense position” of the three countries. Under the AUKUS deal, Australia is to acquire eight state-of-the-art nuclear-powered submarines capable of long-range stealth missions. It also provides for the sharing of unspecified cybernetic, artificial intelligence, quantum and underwater capabilities. The alliance angered China, which describes it as an “extremely irresponsible” threat to the stability of the region.


Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.

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