United States-Australia: agreement on submarines in sight

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday March 8 that he would soon meet President Joe Biden in the United States.

By JLB with AFP

Australia had initially ordered its new submarines from France, before favoring the United States, which caused a small diplomatic crisis.

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ATnthony Albanese called the event the “greatest leap forward” in defense capability in the country’s history. After 18 months of deliberations, Australia is expected to unveil its plan to acquire eight nuclear-powered submarines from the United States, during a meeting between Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Joe Biden. “I will meet President Biden in the United States. We will soon make further announcements on the details of the arrangements that will be made,” reported Anthony Albanese.

For a year and a half, extensive discussions have been taking place behind the scenes between Washington, Canberra and London about Australia obtaining sensitive nuclear propulsion technologies. Australia has ruled out acquiring nuclear weapons.

It is the first time that American nuclear submarine technology has been exported since the 1960s, when the United States helped Britain design its own submarines.

A formidable deterrent

The submarine contract is worth tens of billions of US dollars, but experts say its importance goes beyond the jobs created and the investments promised.

Nuclear-powered submarines are difficult to detect, can travel great distances for long periods of time, and can carry sophisticated cruise missiles.

Experts say this makes it a formidable deterrent to any potential enemy, allowing Australia to launch strikes or counterattacks inside enemy territory with few warning signs.

Beijing has expressed its deep opposition to this project, which it considers “dangerous” and intended to corner China.

” As soon as possible “

The deal is taking place under the auspices of AUKUS – a tri-party military alliance formed by Australia, the UK and the US that aims to share military technology and other advancements. However, major questions remain over the project, including whether Australia plans to buy American or British submarines, where they will be built and when they will be launched.

“The AUKUS partnership aims to provide Australia with nuclear-powered, conventionally-armed submarine capability as soon as possible,” a Pentagon spokesman told AFP ahead of the announcement. Anthony Albanian.

The conclusion of the AUKUS alliance, with the corollary of the cancellation by Canberra of the contract for the acquisition of 12 French submarines, had given rise to a diplomatic crisis. Trust between Paris and Canberra was shattered in September 2021 when Australia’s former Conservative government abruptly canceled a 90 billion Australian dollar (56 billion euro) contract for submarines from the French group Naval Group, him preferring British or American nuclear-powered submarines.

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Bilateral relations then remained tense until the election in May 2022 of Anthony Albanese, who has since tried to calm relations with Paris.

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