Britain will work with two of its key allies to develop hypersonic and anti-hypersonic weapons, it has been announced.
The country on Tuesday announced the joint move with the US and Australia while reaffirming its “unwavering commitment” to an international system that “respects human rights”.
It comes after the three countries agreed on a so-called “Aukus” military pact last year that sparked anger in France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a joint statement Tuesday night outlining an expansion of the move.
Originally, the pact covered submarines, but on Tuesday the trio pledged to ‘start new trilateral cooperation in hypersonic and counter-hypersonic and electronic warfare, as well as expand information sharing and deepen cooperation on defense innovation’.
It comes after the Russian military boasted of using the Kinzhal hypersonic missile in Ukraine – believed to be the first time such a weapon has been used in combat.
In their statement, Aukus leaders said, “We have reaffirmed our commitment to Aukus and to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“In the face of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, we reaffirmed our unwavering commitment to an international system that respects human rights, the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of disputes without coercion.”
They continued, “We also committed today to launch new trilateral cooperation on hypersonic and counter-hypersonic and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as expand information sharing and deepen cooperation on defense innovation.
“These initiatives will complement our existing efforts to deepen collaboration in the areas of cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional underwater capabilities.
“As our work on this and other critical defense and security capabilities progresses, we will explore opportunities to engage allies and close partners.”
The trio claimed they were “pleased with the progress” Australia is making in developing nuclear submarines.
The first announcement had sparked outrage in Paris, as the submarine deal came at the expense of a lucrative deal between Australia and France to supply diesel-electric boats.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/04/05/aukus-pact-us-uk-and-australia-to-work-on-hypersonic-missiles-16411565/ Aukus Pact: USA, Great Britain and Australia work on hypersonic missiles