Australia to acquire long-range US Tomahawk missiles and nuclear submarines.
Australia’s Collins-class submarines will be replaced. Image Credit: news.com.au
On Thursday Australia announced that it will acquire US long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles. This came shortly after they also announced that they forged a new alliance with the US and Britain with the aim of strengthening their military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific in the face of escalating tensions posed by China’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea.
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave a statement regarding the important announcement to reporters in Canberra.
We will be enhancing our long-range strike capability, including Tomahawk cruise missiles to be fielded on the Royal Australian Navy Hobart-class destroyers and joint air-to-surface stand-off missiles extended range for our Royal Australian Air Force capabilities.Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
As part of the deal, the Australian navy will also be provided with technology to build nuclear-powered submarines that even though would not be equipped with nuclear missiles, will have capabilities beyond conventional submarines. The deal which forms part of the Trilateral pact with Britain and the US.
Nuclear-powered submarines really maintain superior characteristics of stealth, speed, manoeuvrability, survivability and really substantial endurance.US official.
The US is considering this type of a technology swap as a one-off. A US official said that the last time and only time that US provided a nation with nuclear propulsion technogy was in 1958, when it delivered the technology to Britain.
The leaders of the three countries forming the trilateral pact never mentioned China. The trilateral alliance is being referred to as Aukus, and is considered to be the biggest security arrangement between three nations since World War 2.
France objected to the agreement between the US and Australia for the sale of nuclear submarines, as they were negotiating $40 billion for 12 diesel-powered submarines to the Australian navy as Australia’s Collins-class submarines are approaching the end of their lifespan.
On the same day, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, announced that Australia’s nuclear submarines will not be allowed to enter New Zealand’s territorial waters in line with its longstanding nuclear-free policy.
In the next 18 months, naval and technical representatives from the three countries will be deciding on how to implement technology and building nuclear-powered submarines. They will attempt to produce a nuclear submarines as fast as possible.
Australia has also boosted its defence spending in response to growing threats from China. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is now expected to meet US President Joe Biden in the White House on September 24th, this time in person.
More details to follow.