Australia buys US nuclear subs due to changed security needs

Australia Submarines US
Posted at 12:37 AM, Sep 16, 2021

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government decided to invest in U.S. nuclear-powered submarines and dump its contract with France to build diesel-electric submarines because of a changing strategic environment.

President Joe Biden had earlier announced a new security alliance with Australia and Britain that would develop an Australian nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

Biden said the partnership would allow the countries to take on the threats of the 21st century.

"I want to be exceedingly clear about this. We're not talking about nuclear-armed submarines. These are conventionally-armed submarines powered by nuclear reactors," Biden stated.

Biden said the partnership is necessary to secure a "free and open Indo Pacific."

"Today we take another historic step to deepen and formalize cooperation among all three of our nations. Because we all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term," Morrison said.

In addition to the fleet of submarines, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the partnership will allow the countries to share vital security information.

"The UK, Australia, and the U.S. will be joined even more closely together," Johnson said.

As a result, Australia has notified France that it would end its contract with state majority-owned DCNS to build 12 of the world's largest conventional submarines.

In June, Morrison says he told French President Emanuel Macron that there were "very real issues about whether a conventional submarine capability" would address Australia's strategic security needs in the Indo-Pacific.