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AUKUS alliance agrees to increase number of SSN visits to Australia.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to a PR published by the US DoD on April 9, 2024, Defense leaders from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have detailed progress made under the AUKUS partnership, aimed at enhancing defense capabilities and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Virginia class submarine USS Mississippi at Fleet Base West, Rockingham, Western Australia. (Picture source: US DoD)

The update, provided by Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, UK Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps, and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, comes after more than a year of the partnership's activities. It emphasizes advancements in delivering conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines to Australia and the expansion of defense technologies.

Key Milestones and Commitments

The "Optimal Pathway" for Australia's acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines is a major focus, intended to improve the region's security in light of evolving threats. The initiative strengthens defense collaboration and aims to support the defense industry through partnerships and innovation.

Notable industry milestones include choosing ASC Pty Ltd and BAE Systems for constructing Australia's SSN-AUKUS submarines and designating ASC as the maintenance partner. These steps aim to promote economic growth and establish a strong supply chain among the three countries.

The establishment of the Submarine Rotational Force-West (SRF-West) illustrates a dedication to maintaining a continuous submarine presence in the region, boosting Australia's support capabilities for allied submarines and contributing to regional stability.

Legislative and Policy Advances

Key legislation in the US and Australia has been crucial for facilitating these defense projects. The US National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 and Australia's Naval Nuclear Power Safety legislation provide the necessary legal framework for the submarine acquisition and workforce development.

Workforce Development and Advanced Capabilities

Efforts in workforce training and development have seen Australian defense personnel receive training in the US and UK, focusing on nuclear submarine operations. This training is supported by bilateral agreements to enhance Australia's workforce capabilities.

Beyond submarines, the AUKUS partners are advancing in defense technology, utilizing collective industry strengths to develop capabilities in maritime awareness, electronic warfare, and long-range fires.

Future Collaboration and Engagement

The defense ministers have committed to transparently engaging with international partners, aiming for broader collaboration in military capabilities. Japan has been mentioned as a potential participant in future AUKUS projects, signaling an ambition for wider regional and global security cooperation.

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