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Will the AUKUS security pact turn into JAUKUS?.


| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by City AM on April 7, 2024, the AUKUS pact, a trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, initially focused on enhancing undersea and nuclear capabilities, is poised for a significant evolution. With its Pillar II initiative, AUKUS is extending its reach into advanced military technologies, including artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and hypersonic weapons. 
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, and the Hon. Anthony Albanese, MP, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia. (Picture source: Japanese government)


Pillar II of AUKUS is not just about developing new technologies but also about creating a framework for collaboration that could eventually include other nations. This broader engagement is seen as crucial for addressing emerging threats and ensuring a balanced power dynamic in the Indo-Pacific region.

Among the potential new members, Japan and Canada have been specifically mentioned as in line to join this technological and military collaboration by the end of 2024 or early 2025.

Furthermore, New Zealand has shown interest in joining AUKUS, specifically under Pillar II, to access and integrate advanced technologies within its defense forces. The prospect of New Zealand's inclusion has sparked a national debate, weighing the technological and strategic benefits against potential diplomatic and trade repercussions, particularly with China​​.

AUKUS

AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, established to foster military and technological cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

This alliance, announced on September 15, 2021, is seen as a strategic counter to China's growing influence and aims to bolster the defense capabilities of its members through sharing critical technologies, including nuclear-powered submarines and advanced cyber mechanisms​​.

The origins of AUKUS trace back to Australia's need to upgrade its submarine fleet. Initially, Australia had contracted with France's Naval Group for a new class of submarines.

However, due to escalating costs and delays, Australia canceled this contract and, in March 2021, sought assistance from the UK and the US for nuclear-powered submarines, leading to the formation of AUKUS.

This move has significantly shifted Australia's maritime defense strategy towards a capability for greater endurance, speed, and stealth provided by nuclear-powered submarines​​.

AUKUS is structured around two primary pillars. Pillar I focuses on Australia acquiring conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs), enhancing its undersea capabilities.

This includes the sharing of nuclear propulsion technology between the US and UK with Australia, a significant step as Australia will join the UK as the only countries the US has shared this technology with. The SSN-AUKUS submarines are expected to be in service by the late 2030s and domestically produced in Australia by the early 2040s​​.


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