Australia to Buy Three American Nuclear-Powered Submarines Under AUKUS Deal

Australia will buy three American-made nuclear-powered submarines as part of a $245 billion (AUD$368 billion) deal to upgrade the country’s naval capabilities, the leaders of Australia, the UK and US said on Monday, March 13.

The three Virginia Class submarines will arrive in 2033, with Canberra given the option to acquire two more if needed.

“Beginning in 2023, Australian military and civilian personnel will embed with the U.S. Navy, the Royal Navy, and in the United States and United Kingdom submarine industrial bases to accelerate the training of Australian personnel,” the leaders said in a joint statement.

The US and UK said they would begin rotating submarines at Australian bases for training purposes as early as 2027.

The deal, brokered under the trilateral AUKUS defense pact, is part of a broader agreement that would see Australia equipped with eight newly built, jointly developed AUKUS Class nuclear-powered submarines. The submarines, based on British designs, will be built in Australia, with the first delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in the early 2040s, the joint statement said.

Speaking in San Diego, California, the AUKUS leaders said they were committed to security in the Pacific, with US President Joe Biden saying the US is “a Pacific power” that has “safeguarded stability in the Indo-Pacific for decades to the enormous benefit to nations throughout the region.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak echoed Biden’s comments, pointing to geopolitical challenges posed by “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s growing assertiveness [and] destabilising behavior of Iran and North Korea”. Credit: The White House via Storyful