Australia’s Next-Gen Nuclear Submariners Will Train With the Brits
The news, announced by the United Kingdom’s Defence Ministry, is another sign of the ever-closer strategic relationship of the AUKUS alliance.
Recently admitted to the United States and British nuclear submarine club, the Australians will gain the knowledge they need aboard the Royal Navy’s newest class of nuclear submarine.
Australian submariners will train on Royal Navy submarines alongside the British, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense explained in a recent statement.
The United States and the United Kingdom revealed the AUKUS partnership last year, to the shock of many. Though the three countries enjoy a particularly close friendship—the countries are three of the five Five Eyes intelligence-sharing countries alongside New Zealand and Canada—the sharing of nuclear submarine information brings the relationship to an all-time high.
The British statement said the following:
“With naval capability at the centre of the two powers’ future defence relationship, the visit [to the United Kingdom by Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles] reinforced the priorities of the Integrated Review and significance of the AUKUS partnership - which links the UK, the United States and Australia in promoting stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
“The UK and US have already welcomed Royal Australian Navy personnel on its specialised nuclear training courses, and more will follow next year, before Australian submariners go to sea. The training and exchanges mark the beginning of a multigenerational naval partnership between the three AUKUS nations.”
The formation of the AUKUS partnership is not surprising considering the economic bullying Australia has endured from China in recent years. However, despite the deep historical ties between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, the friendship also serves a very practical purpose.
As the Indo-Pacific’s largest country, Australia has a strong interest in maintaining peace and openness in the Indo-Pacific—as do the United States and the United Kingdom.
“From the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea, our submarine service is protecting the UK and our allies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the deployment of Australian submariners alongside our British crews epitomises the strength of the AUKUS partnership,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in the statement.
The Australians will train onboard the HMS Anson, which is “one of the most sophisticated underwater vessels ever built.” The submarine “represents £1.3 billion of UK investment. Capable of defending the UK’s interests at home and overseas, HMS Anson will be armed with up to 38 Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedoes, and Block V Tomahawk land attack missiles, able to tackle targets at a range of up to 1,000 miles.”
“Building on commitments made in the Integrated Review, the completion of HMS Anson demonstrates the strength of British industry and its world-leading nuclear technology that will be leveraged to deliver the trilateral AUKUS defence and security partnership between the US, UK and Australia.”
“Built in a UK shipyard, HMS Anson demonstrates the very best of British industry, sustaining our world-leading sub-surface capabilities and underlining the UK’s readiness to contribute them to shared security, especially with our closest allies Australia and the United States under the AUKUS initiative,” Defense Secretary Ben Wallace added in the statement.
Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and defense writer with the National Interest. A graduate of UCLA, he also holds a Master of Public Policy and lives in Berlin. He covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society for both print and radio. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.
Image: Flickr/U.S. Navy.