Australia Inks AUKUS Deal To Exchange Information On Nuclear Submarines – Defense Minister

Australia has signed an agreement on nuclear submarine technology exchange with the United States and the United Kingdom under the framework of the AUKUS defense partnership, Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on Monday.

“This morning I met with UK High Commissioner Victoria Treadell and US Charge d’Affaires Michael Goldman to sign the AUKUS Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement. This Agreement formalizes Australian access to highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology,” Dutton tweeted.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison lauded the deal at a press conference earlier in the day.

“The Agreement will provide a mechanism for Australian personnel to access invaluable training and education from our US and UK counterparts, necessary for learning how to safely and effectively build, operate and support nuclear-powered submarines,” Morrison said, as quoted by his website.

Ships, Boats & Craft | Royal Australian Navy
File Image: Royal Australian Navy

In mid-September, the US, Australia and the United Kingdom announced the new trilateral defense partnership, which forced Canberra to give up on a $66 billion contract with France to develop 12 state-of-the-art conventionally powered attack submarines, as the alliance promises to enhance Australia’s fleet with nuclear-powered submarines.

Earlier, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France will continue to demand compensation from Australia for breaking the contract on submarines.

“The submarine issue is not over for me yet. The Australians may have lost a lot more than they think… The Australians broke the contract and we will work to ensure that our expenses are reimbursed,” Le Drian said on air of the RTL radio.

The announcement came as Australia unilaterally withdrew from a $66 billion agreement on the purchase of submarines from France in favor of a new contract with the UK and the US. France described the move as a betrayal of trust between the countries.