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AUKUS deal delivers new class of submarines for UK and Australia

AUKUS deal delivers new class of submarines for UK and Australia
A new generation of hunter-killer submarines will join the Royal Navy fleet at the end of the next decade following a deal between the UK, USA and Australia.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden and Australia’s premier Anthony Albanese announced the next stage of the AUKUS programme in San Diego – which includes £5bn investment in the Royal Navy’s submarine arm and the industry which builds and supports it.

The programme will deliver a new breed of conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines – SSN-AUKUS, built in the UK and Australia to a British design incorporating cutting-edge US submarine technology – to both the Royal and Royal Australian Navies.

“The AUKUS partnership, and the submarines we are building in British shipyards, are a tangible demonstration of our commitment to global security,” Mr Sunak said.

“This partnership was founded on the bedrock of our shared values and resolute focus on upholding stability in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

“And I am hugely pleased that the plans we have announced today will see pioneering British design expertise protect our people and our allies for generations to come.”

The boats – larger than the RN’s 7,400-tonne Astutes and packed with next-generation sensors and weaponry – will be built for the UK at BAE’s yard in Barrow, where the final Astute-class submarines and three of the four replacement deterrent boats of the new Dreadnought class are being constructed.

The programme will create, support and sustain thousands of UK jobs – not just in Cumbria, but across the supply chain and not least in Derby, where Rolls-Royce develop the nuclear reactors which power the submarines.

Meanwhile Australia will build up its submarine industrial base so the boats can be constructed in the country, with some components manufactured in the UK.

And to forge a cadre of Australian submariners who can operate a nuclear-powered submarine, RAN personnel will serve with the British and American Silent Services both at sea and ashore.

HMS Astute visited Perth during the UK Carrier Strike Group’s Indo-Pacific deployment in 2021 and British and American boats will make more frequent visits to Australia to help develop the workforce, infrastructure and regulatory system.

Construction of the UK’s SSN-AUKUS submarines will begin towards the end of this decade. Decisions about how many new boats the Royal Navy requires will be made in the coming years, based on the strategic situation. 

The first SSN-AUKUS boats will begin replacing the Astute class from the late 2030s, while the first Australian variants will be delivered in the early 2040s.

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