A landmark defence and security partnership was agreed on Wednesday by the leaders of the UK, the United States and Australia which will protect and defend shared interests in the Indo-Pacific.
Under the ‘AUKUS’ alliance, members will enhance the development of joint capabilities and technology sharing, ensuring our people are kept safe from harm and reinforcing our shared goals. AUKUS will foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains.
AUKUS is a concrete articulation of the UK’s ambition, made in the Integrated Review, to deepen defense, security and foreign policy ties with like-minded allies across the globe. The agreement reflects the unique level of trust and cooperation between the three countries, which already share extensive intelligence through the Five Eyes alliance.
The first initiative under AUKUS will be a collaboration on future nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. This capability will promote stability in the Indo-Pacific and will be deployed in support of shared values and interests.
The UK has built and operated world-class nuclear-powered submarines for over 60 years. We will therefore bring deep expertise and experience to the project through, for example, the work carried out by Rolls Royce near Derby and BAE Systems in Barrow.
The initial scoping phase for the new endeavor is expected to take 18 months. The design and build process will create hundreds of highly skilled scientific and engineering roles across the UK, and drive investment in some of our most high-tech sectors.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that 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 defense 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.
The UK and US are already leading members of NATO – the world’s most important defense alliance. The work done by AUKUS will support our shared goals in new regions, promoting stability and protecting our people against new and emerging threats.
In recent years, the UK and Australia have increased collaboration on defense. The Royal Australian Navy is procuring up to 9 of the UK’s Type 26 frigates, allowing our defense forces to operate together more than ever before. Our militaries, including the Royal Gurkha Rifles, have also undertaken joint training exercises.
In recent weeks the UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier has been deployed to the Indo-Pacific region alongside personnel and equipment from the US. Last month the Carrier Strike Group undertook a series of exercises with countries including Australia to build interoperability with like-minded partners.
As set out in the Integrated Review, the Indo-Pacific is at the centre of intensifying geopolitical competition with potential flashpoints including unresolved territorial disputes; to nuclear proliferation and miscalculation; to climate change and non-state threats from terrorism and Serious Organized Crime. It is on the frontline of new security challenges, including in cyberspace.