Rishi Sunak signs £201 billion nuclear submarine deal
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.”
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”.
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