Australia opts for nuclear-powered submarine fleet
September 21, 2021 - Australia’s decision to rip up its A$80bn deal with France for 12 diesel-powered submarines will see it buying either the UK’s nuclear-powered Astute-class boats or the U.S. navy’s equivalent, Virginia-class vessels.
U.S. President Joe Biden revealed last week a new alliance including Australia and Britain that would deliver an Australian fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.
Under the Aukus pact, Australia will be given the technology to build the nuclear vessels as a way of countering China’s influence in the contested South China Sea, the BBC said.
The partnership ended a deal worth $37bn signed by Australia in 2016 for France to build 12 conventional submarines. France says it was informed of the pact only hours before the public announcement was made.
The new submarines will be much more capable than the original planned fleet, and could mean a bonanza for defence contractors in the UK and U.S., according to the Financial Times.