Australia buys US nuclear subs due to changed security needs
CANBERRA (AP) — Australia has decided to purchase U.S.-powered submarines and to end its contract with France to construct diesel-electric submarines. This was because of a new strategic environment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated on Thursday. President Joe Biden had on Wednesday announced a new U.S. Security Alliance with Australia and Britain, which would allow for the development of an Australian-powered submarine fleet.
Australia informed France that it was ending its contract with the state-majority-owned DCNS to construct 12 the largest conventional submarines in the world. Since the French won the contract, Australia has spent $2.4 billion Australian dollars ($1.8 million) on the project.
Morrison stated that Australia was not allowed to use U.S. nuclear submarine technology when the AU $56 trillion ($43 Billion ( ) contract was signed in The technology was previously shared only by the United States and Britain.
Morrison stated that he spoke to Emanuel Macron, the French president, in June about “very real concerns” regarding whether a conventional submarine capability would be able to address Australia’s security needs in the Indo-Pacific.
” “Of course they are disappointed,” Morrison stated. They’ve been great partners. This is about our strategic interest, our strategic capability requirements and a changed strategic environment and we’ve had to take that decision.”
Australian Defense Force Chief, Gen. Angus Campbell, welcomed the new submarines.
” “Our strategic environment is deteriorating,” Campbell stated. “That challenging environment is becoming more challenging and is set to do so into the future at an accelerated pace.”
Australia had not yet decided what class of submarine it would select and did not know how much the nuclear fleet of at least eight submarines would cost, Morrison said. But Morrison stated that Australia’s defense budget will increase beyond the 2.2% current gross domestic product.
Conventional submarines traveling long distances from Australia to conflict areas in Asia must travel on the surface, where they are most vulnerable, using diesel engines to recharge their batteries. This is not the case with the nuclear-powered type. They are powered by their batteries.
Admiral Chris Barry is a former chief of defense forces and said that the French and American versions will have similar onboard capabilities, weapons, and sensors. But what we will get is better transit speeds, and a greater operational endurance,” Barry stated.
“The endurance of a nuclear-powered submarine depends on the patience of its crew and the food they eat. Although it is still limited, it is much more (endurance than a conventional submarine).
Australia was built to counter China’s aggression against Australia, bullying Japan and Taiwan and takeover of South China Sea.
” We should name the first submarine of this new category “Xi Jinping” because the leader of the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for Australia’s current track.
The 97-meter foot) Shortfin Barracuda subs, a modified French nuclear submarine design, were to be delivered in 2027.
Morrison stated that he expected the first nuclear subs to be built in the Australian city, Adelaide.
French Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke out on France-Info radio Thursday, expressing “total incomprehension,” and criticizing both Australia and the United States.
” It was really a stab to the back. Le Drian stated that we had a trust relationship with Australia and that trust was betrayed.
” I’m angry today. He added that this was not something that could be done between allies. “We demand explanations from both sides .”
Left out was Australia’s South Pacific neighbour New Zealand. New Zealand has in the 1980s passed policies and laws to keep the country nuclear-free. This includes a ban against nuclear-powered ships entering New Zealand ports. It is a position that has caused it to clash with the U.S Prime Min Jacinda Ardern, who said Thursday that New Zealand was not asked to join the alliance and would have never expected an invitation.
” Nuclear-powered submarines are the centerpiece and anchor of this arrangement,” Ardern stated. “And it will be very clear to all New Zealanders, and to Australia, why New Zealand would not wish to be a part of that project.”
Ardern said the new alliance didn’t diminish its close ties to the U.S., Britain, Australia and also Canada, which had been solidified through the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing arrangement.
Morrison stated that Ardern was the first foreign leader to whom he spoke to in order to explain the new alliance. Later, he called leaders from India and Japan. They form the Quad security dialog, which consists of Australia and the United States.
“She was the first person I called because of the strength and relationship between our two countries.” Morrison stated. “All of the region will benefit” from the peace, stability, and security this partnership will bring to our region The Chinese government has been avoiding minister-to-minister contact since the deterioration in bilateral relations. Morrison stated that he is open to discussing the new alliance with President Xi Jinping.
” President Xi is invited to talk about these and other issues,” Morrison stated.
“I hope and believe we will both share the same goal of a peaceful Indo-Pacific, where sovereignty and independence of countries is understood and respected. This would allow their citizens to thrive,” he said.
China’s Washington, D.C. embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu stated that countries shouldn’t create exclusionary blocs that target or harm third parties.
“They should get rid of their Cold War mentality, ideological prejudice and in particular, they need to be more open-minded.
Australia will be the first country to acquire nuclear-powered submarines without nuclear weapons.
Australia will discuss with the U.S. and Britain how to dispose of submarine’s nuclear waste, Defense Department Secretary Greg Moriarty stated.
AP journalists Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.
A previous version has been corrected to show the first submarine will be built by 2040, not within a decade.