Sunak set to sign deal to directly supply Australia with submarines
Rishi Sunak set to sign deal to directly supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines despite French anger and warnings from China
- Sunak joins Joe Biden and Anthony Albanese to agree AUKUS submarine pact
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A multi-million-pound deal to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines could be signed by the Prime Minister today.
At a landmark summit in San Diego, Rishi Sunak will join Joe Biden and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese to agree a pact designed to help Australia help the West counter the threat posed by China in the Indo-Pacific.
The deal, which is set to create thousands of jobs in the UK in the coming years, is the centrepiece of a defence pact agreed by the countries in 2021.
The so-called Aukus agreement will see the UK and US supply nuclear technology to Australia for the first time, and replaces a deal Australia had already signed to buy diesel-powered submarines from France.
The pact enraged Emmanuel Macron and sparked warnings from China. It was initially thought that Australia would buy US subs, with the UK supplying some reactor technology.
Rishi Sunak will join Joe Biden and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese to agree a pact designed to help Australia help the West counter the threat posed by China
HMS Anson, the fifth Astute class submarine, which BAE Systems has designed and built for the Royal Navy. The Australian navy will initially buy five Virginia-class subs from the US
But the UK now looks set to supply submarines directly to Australia following an agreement said to have left Mr Sunak ‘buzzing’.
The Australian navy will initially buy five Virginia-class subs from the US. But Britain is then expected to work with Canberra on an updated design of the Astute Class submarine.
All three countries will use the same missile and defence systems.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right) and Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese at a G20 summit in November 2022. Australia is a key ally against China in the Indo-Pacific
Australia is already a key ally in the Indo-Pacific, and the supply of nuclear-powered subs, which can stay underwater for longer, will give it vital new capabilities.
The three-way alliance with the US leaves Britain as a leading player in a region where Europe has sometimes struggled for influence.
A Downing Street spokesman said the Aukus deal was ‘the most significant multilateral defence capability endeavour the world has seen in generations’.
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