The project will support Australia's economy for "decades" and create "around 20,000 direct jobs," Albanese added. Biden said the US had guaranteed stability in the Indo-Pacific for decades. The nuclear submarine alliance with Australia and Great Britain will "increase the prospect of peace for decades".
The submarine deal is part of the Aukus Indo-Pacific security alliance founded a year and a half ago by Australia, Great Britain and the US - a response to China's growing dominance in the region.
Specifically, Australia wants to buy three nuclear-powered and conventionally armed Virginia-class submarines from the United States. A purchase option for two more submarines is also planned. The US submarines are scheduled for delivery during the 2030s.
In addition, Australia, the USA and Great Britain want to build a new generation of nuclear submarines together. These, too, are to be nuclear-powered, but conventionally armed. The project, based on a British submarine model, goes by the name of SSN-Aukus. Britain is scheduled to hand over the first of these submarines to the British Navy in the late 2030s, Australia its first submarine to the Australian Navy in the early 2040s.
The three countries founded the Aukus Alliance in September 2021. Now Biden, Albanese and Sunak met at a naval base in San Diego and announced the nuclear submarine deal. In a joint statement, they emphasized that the alliance is committed to a "free and open Indo-Pacific" that is "secure and stable".
Australia wants to modernize its fleet with nuclear-powered submarines. The deal is extremely important for Australia because the country itself does not have the know-how to build nuclear submarines. Nuclear-powered submarines can travel great distances and are difficult for the enemy to locate.
In the course of founding Aukus, Australia had canceled a long-planned multi-billion dollar submarine deal with France. This had resulted in outraged reactions from the French government and temporarily put a massive strain on relations between Paris and Washington.
With the Aukus agreement, the USA, Great Britain and Australia want to counteract the increased influence of China in the South Pacific. The region is increasingly becoming the arena of competition between China and the United States. Beijing has been attempting to establish a larger military, political and economic presence in the South Pacific for some time.
China has sharply criticized the Aukus alliance. The government in Beijing describes it as "dangerous" and an attempt to corner China.