The AUKUS trilateral military alliance, formed by the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, is the seed of a new class of nuclear-powered submarine developed from American and British technology and which has already been baptized as SSN-AUKUS. This new submarine will be used by the United Kingdom and Australia in the future. As a result of this military agreement signed in 2021 and updated this Monday in San Diego (California), the Australian industry will develop up to eight submersibles as of the 2040s which will use a British design integrated with a american combat system. “There is no more powerful alliance in the world than the United States, United Kingdom and Australia,” former Australian Ambassador to the US Joe Hockey exulted, adding: “Whoever messes with us is going to leave with a bleeding nose.”
The new submersibles, which will begin construction in the Australian city of Adelaide, will be powered by a rolls royce jet and will include a vertical launch system (VLS). The idea is that the different US, Australian and UK Marine Corps can operate any of the submarines and interchange components, in addition to allowing the fleets to communicate using the same terminology, the British Prime Minister explained. Rishi Sunak. “For the first time, three submarine fleets will be able to work together in both the Atlantic and the Pacific, keeping our oceans prosperous and free for decades to come,” Sunak said.
By the mid-2060s, Australia plans to have built eight of the SSN-AUKUS submarines in the Osborne Naval Shipyard, Adelaide. Meanwhile, the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy will establish a rotating presence in Western Australia from 2027. The London-Washington naval force deployed in Australia will include up to five British and American submarines that will defend the coasts of this large island. in an environment of growing diplomatic and military tension with Chinawhose president Xi Jinping has just announced that the People’s Liberation Army will become “an iron wall” to prevent foreign powers from attacking the Asian giant in the future.
The new class of submarine SSN-AUKUS will have a useful life of more than 30 years and will displace more tons than those of the British Astute class those of the US Virginia class. The size of the crew will also be larger, which can reach 130 people on board. The key to this whole ambitious deal is to bolster Australia’s naval power. Unlike conventionally powered submarines, like the ones you currently have and which are about to become obsolete, the Nuclear submarine can navigate for months underwater without ever needing to surface to recharge batteries. This allows you to carry out long missions (consider the great distance Australia is from China and other neighboring countries) without being detected.
Australia’s new defense policy takes into account the growing power and assertiveness of China, which has militarized the South China Sea by building defense bases on artificial islands and has threatened to seize control of Taiwan by force if required. In this context, Australia considers that it no longer has enough with more suitable traditional submarines for operations near its territory.
Another part of the agreement signed by Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and Anthony Albanese this Monday in San Diego (USA) establishes that Australia will initially acquire up to three (with options for two more) SSN submarines from US Virginia class in the early 2030s, to be replaced by the aforementioned SSN-AUKUS not before the 2040s. Australia will pay more than $3 billion over the next four years. Canberra will also have to shell out $2 billion for infrastructure in Adelaide and $1 billion for an expanded naval base in Perth, Naval News reports.
These amounts, says the Australian government, will not suppose an additional cost for the taxpayer because 3,000 million dollars will be obtained in cuts in other areas of defense and 6,000 million dollars were already foreseen in the initial purchase plan of conventional submarines to Francea pre-agreement that Australia rejected in 2021 causing great anger in Paris, which described the decision as a “betrayal” by losing the so-called “contract of the century.
Movements in Australian ports will begin this year. The trilateral alliance stipulates that the training of Australian personnel begins in 2023 with the incorporation of sailors aboard American and British submarines and the constant visit to the HMAS Stirling base in Perth (Australia) by allied submersibles. Training will begin this year with Australian personnel joining US and UK submarines.
The astronomical cost of the operation
The cost of this fabulous military operation for the development of a new class of submarines has not been revealed, but sources in the sector estimate that it could range between 190,000 and 260,000 million dollars until the year 2055. The large outlay of the AUKUS program is so large that it will be managed externally by the Capability Sustainment and Acquisition Group, Australia’s main Defense procurement agency, reports Naval News.
The Australian government estimates that the nuclear submarine program will create up to 20,000 jobs in the next 30 years within the Australian Defense Force, domestic industry and the civil service. This includes 8,500 direct jobs in submarine construction and maintenance in Australia, including scientists, engineers, project managers, operators, technicians, welders, construction workers, electricians, metal fitters and builders, the Australian press reports.