Leaders of the U.S., Australia and Britain are set to unveil plans to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines on Monday, in a major push against China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific.
U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will endorse details of the so-called AUKUS project, which was first announced in 2021, at the U.S. naval base in San Diego, California, principal home port of the U.S.
Under the agreement, Australia will buy three U.S. Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines in the early 2030s, with an option to buy two more if needed, U.S. officials said.
The agreement, known as the AUKUS pact, will have multiple stages with at least one U.S. submarine visiting Australian ports in the coming years and end in the late 2030’s with a new class of submarines being built with British designs and American technology.
The agreement will also see a force of U.S. and British submarines deployed in Western Australia, to help train Australian crews and bolster deterrence.
China’s growing militarization of the South China Sea, which Beijing claims most of despite international maritime law that accords territory to Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and other nations, is an increasing point of friction with the United States