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DSEI 2021: Australia opened nuclear submarine discussions in March

17th September 2021 - 10:00 GMT | by Harry Lye in London

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison launch the AUKUS Partnership. (Photo: Andrew Parsons/No. 10 Downing Street)

The new submarine deal has opened a rift between Australia, the US and UK on the one hand, and France on the other.

During a Q&A following his keynote speech at DSEI on 16 September, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told delegates that Australia approached the UK about acquiring a nuclear submarine capability in March.

The news follows the announcement on 15 September of a trilateral security agreement between the UK, US and Australia – the cornerstone of which will be a project to build at least eight new nuclear-powered conventionally armed submarines.

The deal marks the end of a previous Australian agreement to purchase 12 diesel-electric submarines from France's Naval Group, prompting French anger.

Announced jointly by US President Joe Biden and the prime …

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