Biden to host Australia and Britain to reveal details of submarine pact to counter China
SHARING SENSITIVE TECHNOLOGY
The officials did not elaborate on the planned new class of submarines, including where they would be built, but Australia’s ambassador to Washington said last week there would be a “genuine trilateral solution” and the plan offers the prospect of jobs in all three countries.
Under the initial AUKUS deal announced in 2021, the United States and Britain agreed to provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.
It will be the first time the United States has shared nuclear-propulsion technology since it did so with Britain in the 1950s. Currently, no party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty other than the five countries the NPT recognizes as weapons states – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – has nuclear submarines.
In the second stage of the AUKUS project, the three countries will share advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and hypersonic weapons. British and Australian officials said last week there was still work needed to break down bureaucratic barriers to such technology sharing.
Bill Greenwalt, a former senior Pentagon official for industrial policy, said that since it will be years before Australia has new submarines, the partners urgently need to move forward with this second stage, which covers capabilities that could be deployed within the next few years and are needed quickly given the growing threat posed by China.
“Undersea drones, swarming drones, ubiquitous surveillance, advanced AI and data analytics are all in this potential wheelhouse but ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) prevents the types of cooperation that is needed,” said Greenwalt, referring to US export rules.
A State Department spokesperson said the United States was working to streamline the defence trade process, adding: “We do not anticipate any challenges in implementing AUKUS due to US export-control regulations.”