Rishi Sunak signs £201 billion nuclear submarine deal

Prime Minister has made waves with the US and Australia over the new nuclear submarine deal (Image: Reuters; Getty; PA)

Prime Minister has made waves with the US and Australia over the new nuclear submarine deal (Image: Reuters; Getty; PA)

Rishi Sunak has signed off on a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines on his first visit to the US since becoming prime minister.

He called the trilateral submarine deal between Australia, Britain and the US (Aukus) the most significant multilateral defense partnership in generations and praised the “world-leading” British designs.

As part of a joint statement by the leaders of the UK, US and Australia, he said in San Diego: “Aukus combines our enduring commitment to freedom and democracy with the most advanced military, scientific and technological capabilities.

“Nowhere is that clearer than in the plans we’re unveiling today for the new Aukus submarine, one of the most advanced nuclear-powered submarines the world has ever seen.”

President Joe Biden, center, speaks as Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, left, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak listen Monday, March 13, 2023 at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego as they unveil AUKUS, a trilateral security pact between Australia, Great Britain and the United States. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Anthony Albanese, Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak finalized the deal in the US today (Image: AP)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites in San Diego, California, March 13, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The Prime Minister attended the meeting at the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites in San Diego today (Image: REUTERS)

Under the deal, the US intends to sell three US Virginia-class nuclear submarines to Australia in the early 2030s, with an option to buy two more if needed.

The leaders’ statement said the project would culminate with British and Australian production and operation of a new class of submarines.

The SSN-AUKUS would be a “trilaterally developed” ship based on the British design of the next generation, built in the UK and Australia and incorporating “state of the art” US technology.

An Australian defense official said the project would cost £201 billion by 2055.

Biden emphasized that the submarines would be nuclear-powered, not nuclear-armed: “These boats will not have any nuclear weapons on board,” he said.

Britain will receive its first SSN AUKUS submarine in the late 2030s and Australia its first in the early 2040s, Albanese and the British statement said.

The ships will be built by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, the British statement said.

The agreement also provides for US and British submarines to be deployed in Western Australia to train Australian crews and strengthen deterrence.

The United States and Britain would begin these rotations as early as 2027, the joint statement said.

Mr Sunak said the plans to build the ships “could not be realized without cutting edge American technology and expertise”.

The Conservative Party leader said the deal would “create thousands of good, well-paid jobs in places like Barrow and Derby”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers remarks on the Australia-UK-US partnership (AUKUS ). 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Mr Sunak said the new submarines would feature ‘world-leading’ British designs (Image: Reuters)

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: (LR) US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attend a bilateral meeting during the AUKUS Summit March 13, 2023 in San Diego, California. President Biden receives British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in San Diego for an AUKUS meeting to discuss nuclear submarine procurement under a pact between the three nations. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

It’s the first time Rishi has visited the US since becoming prime minister (Image: Getty)

Undated BAE handout image of a model of what an SSN AUKUS submarine will look like. Issue date: Monday March 13, 2023. PA Photo. Australia will operate a new generation of British-designed nuclear submarines while both countries modernize their navies. The Aukus deal ??? with Australia, Great Britain and the USA ??? the new boats will enter service in the late 2030s after a construction phase that will create thousands of jobs in the UK. The new SSN Aukus submarines will be operational for the Royal Navy by the late 2030s under the plan, also giving Australia its first nuclear-powered capability. See PA story POLITICS Aukus. Photo credit should read: BAE/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to accompany the depiction of any event, thing or person depicted in the photo or any fact mentioned in the photo's caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

The SSN-AUKUS submarine will become operational in the late 2030s (Image: PA)

Calling the deal a “powerful partnership,” he added, “For the first time ever, three submarine fleets will work together across the Atlantic and Pacific, keeping our oceans free, open and prosperous for decades to come.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was “proud to be working with Britain” to “build the next generation of submarines”.

He told a news conference: “This will be an Australian sovereign capability, built by Australians, commanded by the Royal Australian Navy and maintained by Australian workers in Australian shipyards, with construction due to begin this decade,” he added .

Mr Albanese said the deal is an “opportunity for jobs, skills, research and innovation” in Adelaide, Australia, as well as Barrow-in-Furness in the UK.

He added: “These boats, built through innovation and exceptional and emerging technologies, offer Australian companies a unique opportunity to contribute not only to the construction and maintenance of Australia’s new submarines, but also to the supply chains in America and the UK. “

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/13/rishi-sunak-signs-off-on-major-nuclear-submarine-deal-on-first-trip-to-the-us-18436997/ Rishi Sunak signs £201 billion nuclear submarine deal

Justin Scacco

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