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Australia goes nuclear in shock announcement

16th September 2021 - 03:01 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch

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The USN currently has 19 nuclear-powered Virginia-class SSN vessels in service, with USS North Dakota pictured here. (USN)

Nuclear-powered submarines were once never seriously considered by the Australian government, but the strategic environment and troubles with Naval Group have convinced Canberra to change tack.

In a stunning move, Australia announced on 16 September that it is binning its 2016 submarine contract with Naval Group and will instead buy a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. 

In what amounts to one of the most dramatic turnarounds in military procurements in recent times, the Australian government will now have to convince the public this is a good idea.

Australian nuclear submarines will be acquired with technological assistance from the UK and US and constructed in Adelaide as per earlier plans for the Attack class. Canberra said a fleet 'of at least eight' boats will be obtained.

The announcement was made via …

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