- UK Defense Sec. Grant Shapps announced Sunday that London awarded the British defense company BAE Systems a £4B ($4.9B) contract to build nuclear-powered attack submarines under the AUKUS program that includes the UK, Australia, and the US.1
- According to the UK Ministry of Defense, the new submarines, designated SSN-AUKUS, 'will be the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines' the British Navy has ever operated, combining 'world-leading sensors, design and weaponry in one vessel.'2
- While the deal's main contractor is BAE Systems, Britain's Babcock Int. has been awarded a five-year contract for the detailed design of the submarines and Rolls-Royce is supplying the nuclear reactors for the vessels, which are scheduled for delivery by the late 2030s.3
- According to BAE, construction of the next-generation SSN-Aukus attack submarines, which will be operated by Australia and the UK and replace the current Astute class, is expected to begin near the end of the decade and create more than 5K jobs.4
- The multi-billion dollar investment will help the UK maintain its 'strategic advantage and secure our leading position in a contested global order,' Shapps said. The 2021 trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK, and the US has been criticized by China.5
- The three countries unveiled details of the Aukus plan in March — which involves Australia receiving nuclear-powered submarines with greater stealth power from the US to replace its diesel-powered ones — and then building a new model using US and UK technology to counter China's Indo-Pacific ambitions.6
- Anti-China narrative, as provided by Nikkei asia. These nuclear-powered attack submarines are paramount in the West's effort to address China's military buildup. It is misleading to blame the US-led AUCUS alliance for a regional arms race. Rather, Beijing's aggressive expansionism in the South China Sea and beyond, as well as the increase in its defense budget, alarm not only Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines, but all freedom-loving nations. To contain the Chinese threat, the US should further develop military partnerships with like-minded countries.
- Pro-China narrative, as provided by Presstv. This deal benefits only two groups: the British arms industry and Western imperialistic bureaucrats. As for AUKUS, both the US and UK, along with their junior partner Australia, make no secret of the fact that they are primarily concerned with their hegemonic interests with respect to their geopolitical struggle with China — even if this means betraying Western 'partners' such as France. With its military buildup and Cold War mentality, the alliance is trying to stifle Beijing's prominence on the world stage.