AUKUS: Will Australian Nuclear Submarine Slay the Dragon in the Indo-Pacific?

After cancelling the contract to buy submarines from France, the US and UK will provide Australia with nuclear submarines that give Australia more ability to confront China in the region.

The Royal Australian Navy will become the seventh force in the world to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, following an agreement announced by the Australian government on September 15 in which the US and UK committed to supporting the supply of submarines to Australia.
The accompanying agreement, to be completed over the next 18 months, is part of a defence pact proposed by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, creating an alliance of Australia, the US and the United Kingdom.
AUSUK is shaped to counter China in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, including cooperation in many strategic areas such as long-range strike capabilities, cyber warfare, artificial intelligence and Electric quantum communication.

Australia has long operated diesel-electric attack submarines, specifically the Collins class, which has an impressive track record in simulated exercises including sinking a US Navy aircraft carrier. The Australian Navy had previously planned to buy 12 replacements from France under a deal worth more than $40 billion.
Especially, the increased costs have caused the contract with France to exceed 50% of the initial cost to nearly $ 70 billion and the ability to meet the requirements of the French industry is being questioned.

Termination of the agreement with France could cost Australia $400 million if the French side demands compensation. But the alternative arrangement with the US and UK would provide the Australian Navy with weapons with far superior endurance. The Australian ships are expected to borrow heavily from the British Astute-class and the American Virginia-class designs.

Previously, it had been widely reported since 2019 that Australia was considering becoming a nuclear weapons state, aligning with India, North Korea, Pakistan and Israel as a side state outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

If Australia were to go ahead with the submarine program, it would be the only country with nuclear-powered submarines but no nuclear weapons to deploy on them.
In contrast, some countries have nuclear weapons but these countries do not have nuclear-powered submarines like Israel, Pakistan and North Korea.
Therefore, the supply of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia could be seen as a nuclear proliferation risk and would allow the country to more effectively deploy nuclear weapons,

In the past, some sources have speculated that Australia could become a customer for the US B-21 Raider, strategic bombers that would provide the country with a long-range weapon capable of striking China, even with nuclear weapons if it goes that route.
A greater possibility is that Australia could train its personnel to use US nuclear weapons, as many European NATO members have done, on the basis that the warheads would be transferred by the US to its allies in the event of war happened.
With Australia’s new submarines designed to be compatible with US and British armaments, nuclear-tipped cruise missile submarines are likely to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy. in the event of a warlike the US plan to deliver nuclear gravity bombs to European allies

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