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Anglophone military alliance in Asia has big ambitions

IN 1908 second us navy MissouriThe US battleship sailed from San Francisco to Sydney as part of the so-called Great White Fleet’s tour of Asia and circumnavigation of the world.her successor, the third us navy MissouriPresided over the surrender of Japan in 1945. The fourth session on March 13 us navy MissouriA Virginia-class attack submarine lives up to this illustrious lineage by carving its name in the annals of U.S. Pacific naval power.

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On a warm afternoon in San Diego, the leaders of the United States, Australia and Britain, Joe Biden, Anthony Albanese and Rishi Sunak, gathered in front of the U.S. presidential palace. Missouri and reveals the next chapter Okus Agreement signed by their countries 18 months ago. It will strengthen US and UK engagement in the Pacific and tie the three allies together in unprecedented ways into the 2040s and beyond.

The saga began in 2016, when Australia agreed to replace its aging Collins-class attack submarines with a dozen French diesel-electric subs for $33 billion. In 2021, increasingly aware of the threat from China, it terminated the deal and signed Okus With great fanfare. Under its terms, the US and UK will help Australia build a fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered (but not nuclear-armed) submarines. Compared to electric boats, they have far greater range, endurance and stealth (see map). They are also much more complex. Only six countries have them, and the US has only previously shared the technology with the UK.

Mr Biden, Mr Albanese and Mr Sunak revealed Australia and the UK planned to co-produce the new vessel, known as the Social Security Number (registration number). (one social security number are attack submarines that carry conventional weapons and hunt other submarines and ships, not submarine submarine, which carries nuclear-armed ballistic missiles). The UK will build the first ship in Barrow, northwest England. Australia will learn from the prototype and then build its own in Adelaide. The idea was to create economies of scale, with Australian investment boosting British shipbuilding, while larger aggregate orders lowered costs for both countries.

American technology will flood this new “SSN-AUKUSThe U.S. will supply its Vertical Launch System, a set of tubes that can hold more missiles and more advanced missiles than traditional torpedo tubes. No British attack submarine has this capability. The defense industries of the three countries will entangle To an unprecedented degree. Subsystems such as communications equipment, sonar and fire control should be compatible between the Anglo-Australian ship and the next American ship. “We will almost be a joint nuclear submarine force,” said an official involved in the agreement Said. It will be a “beautiful hybrid submarine.”

But, like whiskey, production of high-end subs is measured in double-digit years. Australia’s current fleet is approximately 30 years old and must be decommissioned by the early 2030s.first SSN-AUKUS It will not fall into Australian hands until the early 2040s. It takes the U.S. Navy at least 15 years to produce a submarine commander, said Tom Shugart, who has taken up the role himself, in part because of the complexities of training officers how to use and maintain nuclear propulsion systems. The world’s largest Chinese navy already looks dangerous. To bridge their differences, the three leaders announced two further groundbreaking steps.

First, as early as 2027, the U.S. and U.K. will deploy their own submarines in the Pacific in what some officials call an “enhanced rotational presence” plan, which is intentional. NATO’“Enhanced Forward Presence” for Armored Battlegroups in Eastern Europe. The U.S. typically has two to four attack submarines in Asia at any one time, according to one official.Under the new setup, it will rotate up to four Virginia-class submarines Christmas STERLING, near Perth – This is a major, relatively visible step that entails ending the policy of near-total secrecy surrounding submarine deployments. Britain intends to rotate one of its own Astute-class submarines from a planned fleet of just seven. Australian sailors have already begun deploying on US and UK submarines.

Second, in the early 2030s, assuming congressional approval, Australia would purchase three Virginia-class submarines from the United States at a discounted price, with an option to purchase two more, as temporary use until ssnOkus Appeared. It is surprising that the US agrees. Leases of nuclear submarines to India are extremely rare: only Russia has ever done so. Australia has struggled to man its current submarines, which require fewer than 60 people; the Virginia class requires around 140. What’s more, the U.S. Navy is struggling to procure enough Virginia-class submarines for itself to close the gap with China. As a result, Australia is expected to invest billions of dollars and thousands of workers in US shipyards. Even so, many in Congress may be unhappy with the transfer of Hull. Lawmakers in the United States may need to revise the International Traffic in Arms Regulations regime, which imposes severe restrictions on the export of high-tech products even to allies.

The risks are manifold. The project will need to go through at least three U.S. presidencies after Mr. Biden’s current one and three more U.K. elections — a stern test even though it enjoys bipartisan support in all three countries . According to early estimates, it could cost Australia $180 billion to $245 billion over 32 years. It will be difficult for Australia to develop the necessary skilled workforce and nuclear expertise. On March 10, the Premier of South Australia, with Adelaide as its capital, Peter Malinauskas (Peter Malinauskas) said: “This may be a 100-year effort.”

But the rewards will be high. For the UK, it’s more than a shot in the arm for a struggling submarine industry that has been stuck in construction shutdowns. It also provides substance to the administration’s desire to “tilt” into the Indo-Pacific. Critics have questioned the wisdom of emphasizing naval power in Asia at a time when land warfare is raging in Europe; Mr Sunak is doubling down. On March 10, he agreed with French President Emmanuel Macron that the two countries would establish “the backbone of a permanent European maritime presence in the Indo-Pacific region” by coordinating the deployment of aircraft carriers. On March 13, Mr Sunak’s government published a mini-commentary on foreign policy in which it highlighted China’s “epochal” challenge. The decision to rotate submarines in Asia and build new ones with Asian allies provides an additional long-term anchor for this tilt.

I do, at the bottom of the sea

For the United States, Okus The deal is the latest and most dramatic step in its steady entrenchment of alliances in Asia. It is preparing to sell hundreds of cruise missiles to Japan, and in January agreed to upgrade a marine unit in Okinawa. In February, it gained access to four additional bases in the Philippines. Okus Also included is a second “pillar” of cooperation on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum systems and hypersonic missiles.it is part of a wider prosperity us-Australian Defense Relations.

The United States has invested heavily in Australia: building fuel and ammunition stockpiles, and expanding airports to allow long-range bombers to fly from the north of the country, well out of range of most Chinese missiles. Australia’s investment in naval bases around Perth to support rotational deployments of US and UK submarines will make it easier for submarines to be maintained, repaired and resupplied without the hassle of returning to Guam or Hawaii, making them easier to operate in peacetime and war.

in fact Okus Surviving last year’s transition from Australia’s centre-right Liberal Party to Mr Albanese’s centre-left Labor Party reflects a consensus in Australian politics now about the threat from China and the need for tough measures to counter it. A 2020 defense review concluded that the prospect of a major war is “less remote than it used to be”, with the government no longer guaranteed to receive decade-long warnings of such conflicts. (A new defense review, written by the former defense secretary and military chief, was submitted to the government in February but has not yet been published.)

Ashley Townshend, an Australia expert at the Carnegie Institution of Washington think tank, pointed out that Australia is currently unable to strike targets or protect expeditionary forces more than 150 kilometers from its land. He said the country’s new submarines would give it an “escalation option” in a regional crisis where Australian leaders might want to “deter or defeat” a Chinese military presence – say in south-east Asia or the South Pacific. “It will be a sovereign Australian capability,” Mr Albanese stressed, “built by Australians, commanded by the Royal Australian Navy and maintained by Australian workers in Australian shipyards.”

But the scenario that matters most to U.S. planners is a larger Taiwan war. “Okus There is one overriding purpose,” Mr Biden said at Missouri: “Strengthening Indo-Pacific Stability in Rapidly Changing Global Dynamics.” A us-The 2021 Australia Agreement sets out the purpose of all investment in Australian facilities. It is designed to “support high-end combat and joint military operations in the region”. Another eight submarine-worth of missiles lurking in the South and East China Seas would make it harder for China to send invading forces across the Taiwan Strait or escalate elsewhere.

This will increase deterrence. Equally important, it has driven the English-speaking military alliance in Asia to the point of no return. Australian ports, bases and potentially submarines will increasingly feature in US war plans. Mr Townshend said this gave Australia leverage and influence over the schemes. It also limits its options. “This is an extremely costly signal of our willingness to contribute to the collective deterrence of China. Withdrawing from it would create an unimaginable rift in the alliance – which is why Beijing will take it seriously.”

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