onsdag 29. september 2021

Michael Clarke: The AUKUS Nuclear Submarine Deal: Unanswered Questions for Australia

The announcement of the Australia-U.K.-U.S. (AUKUS) agreement for cooperation on Australian acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) – as well as closer cooperation between the three allies on artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, underwater systems, and long-range strike capabilities – has generated an enormous amount of over-heated commentary.

For some, this agreement is something of a magical unicorn that will deliver all manner of strategic and security blessings onto Australia. Rory Medalf proclaimed that this “new triple near-alliance is based on capability, convergent interest and, above all, trust” and will deliver “a merger of our military, industrial and scientific capabilities.” These are bold claims.

Yet, for the submarine component of the agreement, at least, there remain a number of significant unanswered questions. What does this mean for Australia’s already strained submarine capability?