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The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have solidified a significant agreement to expand their high-tech military cooperation to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
This development was announced following a meeting between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and defense chiefs from Australia and the United Kingdom at Silicon Valley’s Defense Innovation Unit headquarters. The joint statement from the meeting emphasized the intention to improve global security responses, enhance defense against evolving threats, and contribute to stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The agreement, reinforcing the trilateral AUKUS partnership (Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), focuses on technology cooperation and information sharing. One critical element of this partnership includes the plan to equip Australia with eight nuclear-powered submarines, utilizing US nuclear technology but not armed with nuclear weapons. These submarines, some of which will be Virginia-class from the US and others a new AUKUS-class, will be constructed in Adelaide, Australia, with completion expected around 2040.
Alongside the submarine program, the agreement includes:
- Plans for military exercises using undersea and surface maritime drones.
- Enhancements in intelligence and data sharing.
- The establishment of new radar sites for deep space monitoring.
The initiative also encompasses using artificial intelligence in P-8A surveillance aircraft for improved anti-submarine warfare.
Defense Secretary Austin, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, and British Secretary of State for Defense Grant Shapps underscored the importance of this cooperation in addressing global security challenges. Marles highlighted Australia’s need for improved maritime drones and precision strike capabilities, while Shapps stressed the importance of open navigation, especially in the Pacific and South China Sea.