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Signature of a key deal under AUKUS pact between US, UK and Australia.

| 2021

According to information published by the Bangkok Post on November 22, 2021, the Australian Minister of Defence Peter Dutton joined the US and British officials in signing an agreement allowing the exchange of sensitive "naval nuclear propulsion information" between the three nations.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 (Picture source: KPMG)

Minister for Defence the Hon Peter Dutton MP said the Agreement will further advance consultations by permitting the United Kingdom and the United States to exchange sensitive and classified naval nuclear propulsion information with a third country for the first time.

The Agreement will also provide a mechanism for Australian personnel to access invaluable training and education from their UK and US counterparts, necessary for learning how to safely and effectively build, operate and support nuclear-powered submarines.

In September 2021 Australia scraped its French contract of Barracuda-class submarines to sign a trilateral security pact called AUKUS with the United Kingdom and the United States. Under the pact, the United States and the United Kingdom agree to help Australia to develop and deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

The agreement covers key areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber warfare, underwater capabilities, and long-range strike capabilities.

The Royal Australian Navy could be interested in the British Astute-class submarines or the US' Virginia-class submarines.

The Virginia class, also known as the SSN-774 class, is a class of nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines, in service in the United States Navy. Designed by General Dynamics's Electric Boat (EB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Virginia-class is the United States Navy's latest submarine model, which incorporates the latest in stealth, intelligence gathering, and weapons systems technology.

The Astute class is the latest class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines (SSNs) in service with the Royal Navy. The boats are being constructed by BAE Systems Submarines at Barrow-in-Furness. Seven boats will be constructed: the first of class, Astute, was launched by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in 2007, commissioned in 2010, and declared fully operational in May 2014.

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