Submarine contract canceled with France: Australia signs with United States and United Kingdom

the essential Two months after the cancellation of the “contract of the century” of twelve submarines between France and Australia, the Australians formalized their alliance with the United States and Britain. The cancellation of the contract had scrambled diplomatic relations between France and Australia.

Australia officially embarked on Monday in a highly contested program to equip itself with nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new defense alliance with Great Britain and the United States. Defense Minister Peter Dutton signed an agreement with British and American diplomats authorizing the exchange of “information on naval nuclear propulsion” between their countries.

To read also: Submarines: five questions to understand the breach of the “contract of the century” between France and Australia

It is the first agreement signed and made public since the announcement in September by the three countries of their new defense alliance, named AUKUS, to deal with growing strategic tensions between the United States and China in the Pacific. This alliance was accompanied by the cancellation by Australia of a mega contract for the purchase of twelve French submarines with conventional propulsion for a value of 90 billion Australian dollars (55 billion euros), causing a lasting quarrel between Paris and Canberra.

The deal will help Australia complete a 18 month study on the acquisition of submarines, said Peter Dutton after signing the deal in Canberra on Monday with the American ChargĂ© d’Affaires Michael Goldman and the British High Commissioner to Australia Victoria Treadell. Details of the acquisition have yet to be decided, including whether Australia will opt for US or UK nuclear-powered attack submarines.

“With the access to information afforded by this agreement, as well as the decades of experience of our UK and US partners in the field of nuclear powered submarines, Australia will also be able to be a responsible manager. and reliable of this technology, “said Peter Dutton in a statement.

To read also: Breach of the “contract of the century”: Australia claims to have had “serious reservations” on French submarines

Ahead of the signing ceremony, US President Joe Biden said in a memorandum approving the deal that it would improve the “mutual defense position” of the three countries. Under the AUKUS deal, Australia is to acquire eight state-of-the-art nuclear-powered submarines capable of long-range stealth missions. It also provides for the sharing of unspecified cybernetic, artificial intelligence, quantum and underwater capabilities. The alliance angered China, which describes it as an “extremely irresponsible” threat to the stability of the region.

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