The UK, the US and Australia have formed a defence and security partnership to further improve joint development capabilities and technology sharing.
Known as ‘AUKUS’, the collaboration will encourage deeper security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains integration.
It is intended to help better protect and defend the three countries’ shared interests in the Indo-Pacific, as well as strengthens the Integrated Review commitment.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK, Australia and US are natural allies. While we may be separated geographically, our interests and values are shared. The AUKUS alliance will bring us closer than ever, creating a new defence partnership and driving jobs and prosperity.
“This partnership will become increasingly vital for defending our interests in the Indo-Pacific region and, by extension, protecting our people back at home.”
According to the UK Government, the initial scoping phase for the new partnership is expected to take at least 18 months.
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Following the announcement on the new security partnership, several naval projects have been confirmed for South Australia.
As the first initiative, the AUKUS partnership will support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). These submarines are planned to be built in South Australia.
The Australian Government has also approved a ‘Life-of-Type Extension’ to the Collins-class submarine fleet.
In addition, the Collins-class full-cycle docking will continue to take place at Osborne.
The government is investing A$6.4bn ($4.68bn) for these works.
Furthermore, it will invest up to A$5.1bn ($3.73bn) in upgrades to the Hobart-class destroyer combat management system.
Australia Defence Minister Peter Dutton said: “The Collins-class submarine to this day remains one of the most capable conventional submarines in the world.
“The planned Life-of-Type Extension, through the replacement of key systems, will help deliver defence’s strategic objectives.
“The upgrade to the Aegis combat management system will ensure our fleet of Hobart class air warfare destroyers maintain their capability-edge into the future.
“Both of these projects announced today are vital for defence’s ability to act with greater independence in an increasingly contested strategic environment.”