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AUKUS nations sign naval nuclear propulsion information-sharing agreement

22nd November 2021 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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The RN’s Astute-class submarine is a contender for the basis of Australia’s future SSN. (Photo: UK MoD/ Crown Copyright)

The Australian Department of Defence said a new agreement only allows for sharing naval nuclear propulsion information and not the transfer of equipment.

AUKUS partners Australia, the UK and the US have signed an ‘Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement’, progressing Canberra’s plans to build conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.

The agreement will progress consultations, allowing the UK and US to exchange sensitive and classified nuclear propulsion information with Australia.

It will also provide a mechanism for Australian personnel to access training from US and UK counterparts to safely build, operate, and support nuclear-powered boats.

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said: ‘This Agreement will support Australia in completing the 18 months of intensive and comprehensive examination of the requirements underpinning the delivery of nuclear-powered submarines,’

The Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties will consider the agreement and subject to domestic processes in the UK and US.

The announcement of the AUKUS agreement on 15 September shocked the world and came with the cancellation of Australia’s previous plans to buy 12 diesel-electric submarines from France’s Naval Group.

During an 18-month concept phase, the AUKUS trio will hammer out the future Australian nuclear submarine requirements.

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