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Australia to accelerate plans for nuclear submarines

By David Stringer (Bloomberg) Australia plans to announce more details soon on a plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of a security partnership with the US and UK, said Defense Minister Peter Dutton.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the new defense alliance in September and decided to cancel a 2016 agreement with French shipbuilder Naval Group to build up to 12 diesel-powered ships, a project that had cost around 90 billion Australian dollars ($66). billion).

“We will have an announcement in the next few months on which boat we are going with, which we can do in the meantime,” Dutton told Australian television Broadcasting Corp. Sunday. “The US and the UK understand the timelines, they understand what’s going on in the Indo-Pacific and they’re very, very willing partners.”

The partners initially said work on details and specifications could take 18 months. Morrison’s government faces a national election which must be held by the month of May.

Australia’s investment is intended to replace an aging fleet of Collins-class submarines. Dutton said Australia hopes to have its first nuclear-powered ships before 2040, the current date when they are expected to be in service.

“We’re going to get the capability much sooner than that,” Dutton said. “The arrangement going on at the moment between the United States and the United Kingdom has been incredibly productive.” © 2022 Bloomberg L.P.