AUKUS submarines will be built, say Sydney and London

(Adelaide) Australia and Britain said on Friday that the historic deal to develop AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines with Washington would “go ahead”, despite growing fears over costs, capabilities and a possible return of Donald Trump.

“All three governments involved are working at pace to achieve this,” Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles told reporters on Friday.

“It’s going to happen and we need it to happen,” he added.

Under the fledgling Aukus defense alliance, the three long-standing allies have pledged to jointly strengthen their military power to curb Chinese military expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

Defense officials this week unveiled ambitious plans to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, one of the main pillars of the deal.

But after more than two years of existence, there are already signs that Aukus and its main project could be threatened.

Some fear that Donald Trump will scuttle the pact if he wins the November presidential election and return to his “America First” foreign policy.

The head of British diplomacy David Cameron, visiting Australia, stressed that a “fantastic” alliance like Aukus and others like NATO, which he described as “the most successful military alliance of history”, were expected to be in good shape when the American presidential election came to an end.

“I think that whoever the president is, the best thing we can do is put these alliances and these projects in the best possible conditions so that the new president can see that they work,” he added. .

The part of the agreement on nuclear-powered submarines is “an enormous project, a gigantic undertaking, but absolutely essential for our security”, he further underlined, specifying that he had “total confidence” in pursuit of the agreement.

“A more dangerous time”

Faced with the emergence of potential hot spots around the world and China’s increasingly aggressive attitude in the Taiwan Strait, Grant Shapps, British Defense Minister visiting Australia, insisted on Friday on the made Aukus more important than ever.

After decades of relative peace, Mr. Shapps observed that the planet was slowly moving from a “post-war” to a “pre-war” era.

“We live in more dangerous times,” he said during a visit to the Osborne shipyard in South Australia.

Australia announced on Thursday that it was entering into a partnership with the British BAE Systems for the construction of nuclear-powered submarines.

In 2021, Canberra caused a major diplomatic crisis with Paris by breaking without warning a 55 billion euro contract for the purchase of 12 conventionally powered submarines from Naval Group.

Australia hopes to have eight nuclear-powered ships by the 2050s, combining five new AUKUS-class submarines built domestically and in the UK, and three Virginia-class ships purchased from the United States .

BAE Systems, a heavyweight in the European defense industry, said it was “already making good progress in the design and development of the next generation submarine”.

The group has close links with the British Navy, for which it is responsible for building Astute and Dreadnought class nuclear-powered submarines.

Nuclear-powered submarines offer more stealth and, above all, much more autonomy than conventional submarines.

The Aukus project to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines could cost up to $240 billion over 30 years.


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