Image credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Indra Beaufort

August 04, 2023

Why the new alliance between the U.S., UK, and Australia is so important to Indo-Pacific security

By Lisa Curtis

The landmark trilateral agreement among Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines (the so-called AUKUS agreement) is the Biden administration’s signature Indo-Pacific initiative, showing United States’ commitment to working with its closest allies to deter China. In transferring this sensitive technology for the first time in over 60 years (the only other country to receive it was the UK in 1958), the Biden Administration is acknowledging the critical role of Australia in helping to establish deterrence at a time when tensions between the United States and China are on the rise.

AUKUS demonstrates that the United States and its allies are prepared to act in unison and break down the barriers to sharing the most advanced military technology to maintain peace and order in the Indo-Pacific.

AUKUS is a long-term endeavor. While Australian naval officers are already receiving training in the United States and U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) have begun regular visits to Australia, it will take more than 15 years before Australia can produce its own SSNs. In the interim, the U.S. has announced it will transfer three to five Virginia-class submarines to Australia over the next decade while Canberra ramps up indigenous capabilities. Nuclear-powered submarines are critical for deterrence in the Indo-Pacific as they allow for longer duration deployments and can operate in contested waters at lower risk, given their greater maneuverability and stealth capabilities.

Read the full article from The Ripon Society.

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