CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says a deal to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines will be the nation’s biggest leap in defense capability in its history, adding the United States and Britain also plan to benefit from the partnership.
A decision will be announced in March on how a fleet of Australian submarines powered with U.S. nuclear technology will be delivered under the AUKUS tripartite pact.
Options include a next-generation U.S. Virginia-class sub, a British Astute-class or a new hybrid design.
Critics argue that neither the United States nor Britain has the capacity to start delivering the subs by 2040, while Australia lacks the shipbuilding capability to take a lead role.
Albanese said Tuesday the technology sharing among the AUKUS partners would bring benefits beyond submarines.
“Now, this will be the single biggest leap in our defense capability in our history,” Albanese told the National Press Club, referring to Australia’s advance from Australian-built Collins-class diesel-electric submarines that went into service more than 20 years ago.
“AUKUS is about much more than nuclear submarines or even technological interoperability. AUKUS is about the future. It further formalizes the common values and the shared interests that our three nations have,” Albanese added.