The Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon. Richard Marles was hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace at the commissioning of HMS Anson at BAE Systems, Barrow. As part of AUKUS partnership, Prime Minister Johnson and Secretary Wallace announced the training of Royal Australian Navy submariners aboard the newly commissioned HMS Anson, an Astute-Class submarine. Australia is embarking on the next generation of submarines and in doing so, ensuring we have Royal Australian Navy personnel training with partners under the AUKUS partnership. Having Royal Australian Navy submariners train alongside Royal Navy crews, is an important step, taken with our partners in the United Kingdom to further strengthen both country defence ties.
Quotes attributable to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Richard Marles MP:“It was an honour to be hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace at today’s commissioning ceremony for HMS Anson. Australia is eager to learn from our counterparts, and who better to learn from than our friends in the United Kingdom. Our countries are working hand in glove on training and building the skills required for our future submarines, is an important part of bolstering our Defence Force. Today‘s announcement of Australian submariners training aboard HMS Anson says everything about our future plans of building the AUKUS partnership. During my visit to Govan shipyard, where the Type 26 is being built, we have Australian workers- engineers, mechanics and the like- who are learning from their UK counterparts to deliver the high-tech skills required to deliver for our Frigate program back home in Osborne, SA.”
AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, announced on 15 September 2021 for the Indo-Pacific region. Under the pact, the US and the UK will help Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. The pact also includes cooperation on advanced cyber, artificial intelligence and autonomy, quantum technologies, undersea capabilities, hypersonic and counter-hypersonic, electronic warfare, innovation and information sharing. The pact will focus on military capability, separating it from the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance that also includes New Zealand and Canada. Although the joint announcement by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, British prime minister Boris Johnson and US president Joe Biden did not mention any other country by name, anonymous White House sources have alleged it is designed to counter the influence of China in the Indo-Pacific region.
Under the pact, the US will share nuclear propulsion technology with Australia the same as it has with the UK since 1958 under the US–UK Mutual Defence Agreement as will the UK. The Royal Australian Navy will acquire at least eight nuclear-powered submarines armed with conventional weapons to be built in Australia. The basic design and key technologies will be decided by the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force an 18-month Department of Defence research project headed by Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead, begun in September 2021 with assistance from the US and UK. Australia will extend the life of its Collins-class submarines that the Attack class was due to replace and may consider leasing or buying nuclear-powered submarines from the US or the UK in the interim until the delivery of its future nuclear powered submarines. US officials have said that sharing nuclear propulsion technology with Australia is a “one-off” and that they have no “intention of extending this to other countries”.