Australia is embarking on its most significant change of defence and strategic direction in decades, aiming to make the Navy’s next submarine fleet nuclear-powered.
In a deal announced by US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the US will share secret nuclear technology to help Australia switch to nuclear powered subs.
The fleet will be the first initiative of a newly formed trilateral security partnership called AUKUS. Mr Morrison said the “next generation” partnership would help ensure the region’s safety.
“Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific,” Mr Morrison said. “This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures.”
The deal does not extend to nuclear weapons, only the propulsion system, which has always been conventional diesel-electric in Australia’s submarine classes. “Australia is not seeking to establish nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability,” Mr Morrison said.