AUKUS : US, UK and Australia forge military alliance to counter China

Amarante

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Australia may not get any submarine from AUKUS, warns a former Trump administration official.


If the former Trump administration official who coined the term "Indo-Pacific", which defines security and diplomatic discussions in the vast region, is to be believed, Australia may not receive a single nuclear submarine as part of the AUKUS security pact

Randy Schriver, former deputy defence secretary in the Trump administration, said "multiple potential obstacles on all sides", including opposition from the US Navy and political changes in Washington and Canberra, could spell the end of the promise of eight nuclear-powered submarines.

A supporter of the AUKUS, he told The Australian newspaper that "sustained commitment from senior political leaders in both capitals is needed or the chances of Australia deploying its own nuclear-powered submarines will be dashed".

In a statement last month, the White House said Australia was on track to receive a nuclear-powered submarine "sooner rather than later", ending speculation that the submarines would arrive much later and at a higher cost than the French-designed conventional submarines originally ordered.

"Whatever the fallout from AUKUS, we need to repair our relationship with France in the Indo-Pacific," Schriver said, noting that France had a larger security and population presence in the region than the UK.

Now president of the Projt 2049 Institute, a Washington DC think tank specialising in Indo-Pacific issues, Schriver said the idea of "leasing" a US nuclear submarine, floated by Defence Minister Peter Dutton and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, was "difficult but not impossible", adding that "this scenario could involve having a US crew on board who could eventually have control of it.

The AUKUS announcement in September did not specify whether the UK or US would provide the nuclear technology for the submarines, what the price and procurement dates would be, or how many of the submarines would be built in South Australia.

Kurt Campbell, President Biden's Indo-Pacific security adviser and AUKUS pioneer, said early last week that the US needed to "be a better deputy sheriff for [Australia]" in the Pacific.

"If you look at the area of the world where we have huge moral, strategic and historical interests, where we haven't done enough, [but] where Australia and New Zealand have done a lot, we need to up our game considerably," Campbell said.

Charles Edel, Australia Chair at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said the submarine part of the AUKUS pact was "unlikely to happen" unless the White House could overcome the "bureaucratic challenge" presented by the US Navy.

"It is not surprising that the US Navy is extremely cautious about sharing its technological crown jewel, ... and this hesitation would be due to both security concerns and the protection of the technology involved,", he told The Australian.

A former naval intelligence officer, Schriver, who works closely with Richard Armitage, President George W. Bush's deputy secretary of state, also said he believed China was planning to take over Taiwan - an island Beijing considers a renegade democracy - "without a fight. "Most of what we're seeing today is part of a pressure campaign to isolate Taiwan and get political capitulation - not to prepare for a short-term invasion," he told The Australian.

During his tenure at the Department of Defence, Schriver replaced the term Asia-Pacific with Indo-Pacific - a popular label in both the US and Australia - to, in his words, "more accurately reflect our interests".

The truth is," he says, "that the Straits of Malacca do not separate the Pacific from the Indian Ocean but connect them. And no one understands this better than Australia, whose shores embrace both great oceans.


Source:
NoCookies | The Australian
(paywall), via:
AUKUS - L'Australie risque de ne pas recevoir de sous-marin prévient un ancien responsable de l'administration Trump. - AGASM-Sous-marins sous-marin
(French)
 

Optimist

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Oct 31, 2021
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Yes, I always get my information from old Trump corrupt grifters. We are actually getting the nuke reactors from the UK and the transfer agreement has been signed.
 

_Anonymous_

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I wonder how would Australia react if Indonesia got itself SSNs coz it's definitely going to happen in the not so distant future.


Yes, I always get my information from old Trump corrupt grifters. We are actually getting the nuke reactors from the UK and the transfer agreement has been signed.
 

Optimist

Active member
Oct 31, 2021
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Australia
Why would Australia react? Did it react when India got nuke subs? You do realise Australia and indonesia have close ties and military exercises. It is to our advantage for them to be strong. It is nuke engines, not nuke weapons
 

_Anonymous_

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Oh yes it reacted both when India got N subs for the first time on lease from the ex USSR in 1987 & later on in 1998 when we conducted our N tests in Pokhran going to the extent of withdrawing it's high commissioner from India & asking us to withdraw ours from Australia even when neither the US nor UK whom Australia wholeheartedly loves to emulate & seek validation from never did so .

It certainly isn't in your advantage to see an Indonesia with SSNs. Just as Indonesia was among the few nations to voice their opposition to Australian attempts to seek such Subs. In fact none of the ASEAN states viz Vietnam , Philippines , Malaysia or Indonesia are happy at this prospect .

I realise it's N "engines" not N weapons which is why I wrote SSNs not SSBNs.
 

_Anonymous_

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Nuke bomb test is another story. You may recall France wasn't welcomed with their test either

Resolute support after Pokhran 1998

An ardent follower of one of the greatest French heroes, Charles De Gaulle, Chirac was the first Western leader to visit India post the declaration of Emergency — he arrived in 1976 as the Prime Minister of France, viewing it as an “internal matter” of India, and carried on with usual business during the trip.



Twenty-two years later, he came back to India as the chief guest on Republic Day in 1998, and said he wanted to establish a sound strategic relationship with India.

Known as the “weathervane” for his ability to shift as it suited him, Chirac stood in resolute support of India when, a few months after his visit, New Delhi declared itself a nuclear power with the Pokhran-2 tests under the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

This immense support from Chirac, especially when the US and others were contemplating the imposition of economic sanctions on India, proved to be a turning point in India-France relations that are going strong even today.

Former ambassador Kumar said, “Chirac understood and was keen to deepen ties with India at a time when we were seen as a pariah nation.”



 

_Anonymous_

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Nuke bomb test is another story. You may recall France wasn't welcomed with their test either

Nuke weapons is a non-issue with Indonesia they signed the NPT

SSNs can launch nuke weapons
Australia is a signatory to the NPT too.

SSNs can't launch ballistic missiles.
 

_Anonymous_

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I thought we were discussing Australia & Indonesia - both signatories to the NPT here. BTW - Israel has 6-8 conventionally powered Submarines with N armed CMs since at least 2 decades if not more. NK is actively pursuing such a program too. Pakistan also claims such a capability. All the latter 3 aren't part of the NPT.
 

Amarante

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Jun 22, 2021
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The SLCM-N project seems to have been defunded
 
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randomradio

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Australia is set to receive its first nuclear submarine at least five years ahead of schedule after America agreed to fast-track the project. Defence Minister Peter Dutton has revealed he expects the first vessel to be completed in the early 2030s – well ahead of the 2040 estimate.

Australia's nuclear submarines ahead of schedule


Can't rely on this without a contract.
 
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Amarante

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Getting the most out of AUKUS could require Plan B-21
(ASPI, jan.21)

As the Defence Department’s deputy secretary for strategy between 2009 and 2012, I asked US counterparts on three occasions about the likelihood they would share submarine nuclear-propulsion technology.

The answer was the same each time: there was no way the US Navy or Department of Energy would hand Australia the technology. Britain had been given access in 1958 under conditions where even today the US has stringent oversight of its capability, but that was the limit of American openness.

The American judgement was that we should stick to our quiet conventional submarines, which the US military valued highly.

Two things have changed since then: first, communist China presents a near-term existential threat to the global strategic balance; and second, Joe Biden is US president. The China threat will outlast Biden, but the key question for Australia is: will AUKUS survive a change of president?

Without Biden’s intervention, America’s nuclear-propulsion bosses would not have changed their minds about Australian access.

On Monday, The Australian reported the views of Randy Schriver, a respected assistant secretary of defence in the Trump administration, that there were ‘many potential obstacles on both sides’, including pushback from the US Navy. Success requires ‘sustained commitment from the senior political leaders in both capitals, otherwise the chances of Australia deploying its own nuclear submarine will drop below 50 per cent’.

Schriver backs AUKUS but says that, even with Biden’s personal support, a successful transfer of propulsion technology is a 50–50 proposition.

I want AUKUS to succeed, just as I wanted the French-designed Attack-class submarines to be a triumph. Australia needs a defence force with excellent technology, able to deter a well-armed enemy, and submarines can play that role.

Australia needs to persuade the US that we are serious about taking on nuclear propulsion, that we will spend the money, recruit the people, design the safety systems, build the ports, and train and exercise the navy to be outstanding nuclear custodians. On the AUKUS timeframe announced last September, we have until February 2023 to develop ‘an optimal pathway to deliver this capability’. Thirteen months to go.

By February 2023 Australia could have a different government, one more doubtful about nuclear propulsion. Boris Johnson’s attempt to hang on to the UK prime ministership, optimistically titled ‘Operation Save Big Dog’, may have sunk well before 2023.

Biden could face a Republican-controlled Congress after the November 2022 midterm elections, constraining his ability to make bold executive decisions.

Just like the Attack-class submarine project, it may emerge that the technology on offer is ultimately not going to deliver what Australia needs. Or it may be unaffordable or too far into the future to matter, or, as the US Navy worries, beyond what our navy of 16,000 people can handle.

It took half a decade for our government to conclude that it needed a Plan B to escape from the Attack-class project. Does anyone seriously think we should approach AUKUS as though nothing could go wrong?

Even if AUKUS delivers success in other technology areas like cooperation on hypersonic missiles, nuclear propulsion is a risky centrepiece for the grouping. A failure of AUKUS is something we cannot allow to happen because it would strengthen Beijing’s claim that American decline in the region is inevitable.

To keep AUKUS strong, and for our own security, we need a Plan B if nuclear propulsion fails. Given our geography, Australia needs military equipment with range and hitting power. Nuclear-powered submarines provide unlimited range but with constrained firepower—it’s a long way back to port once the limited stock of torpedoes has been fired.

Extended-range strike aircraft give more flexibility and the capacity for faster missile replenishment. Australia should look at options to join with the US in acquiring the long-range B-21 stealth bomber. The aircraft’s development is complete. Five aircraft are in construction in California; initial flights have already happened, with more planned in the next few months.

No one piece of equipment changes the strategic balance, but long-range stealthy strike aircraft would complicate Beijing’s offensive plans, creating a barrier to military adventurism. Raising the barrier to military conflict is what is needed in the next few years.

ASPI’s Marcus Hellyer points out that the B-21 will use two F-35 engines but have three or four times the unrefuelled range. The US Air Force plans for a unit price under $1 billion, which is an astonishing amount of money until you compare it with the $45 billion we plan to spend on future frigates, $89 billion on submarines and $30 billion on armoured vehicles.

Australia operated the F-111 long-range strike bomber until December 2010, so this is a type of machinery we have mastered in the past. AUKUS gives us an opportunity to see if we can buy into a game-changing technology, with production starting soon, delivering a long-range stealth weapon that will reinforce deterrence in Asia.

The Royal Australian Air Force could be operating this aircraft within half a decade, making it relevant to the current strategic situation.

An investment now will spend money that can’t be spent on submarine construction at least for a decade and overcome a lack of hitting power in the Australian Defence Force.

Strike capability will make the ADF a much more difficult opponent and thereby strengthen deterrence. That means keeping the region at peace.

The case against the B-21 bomber is that it isn’t in Defence’s current plan and won’t be built in Adelaide. This points to weaknesses in how we acquire military technology: our processes are too slow and too focused on incrementally adding to the existing design of the ADF. We need more creativity.

Left to its own devices, it would take Defence years to decide that a stealthy strike bomber might be worth buying. At Christmas, The Australian reported that a review of Defence innovation planned ‘major reforms’ to ‘get new projects to contract stage’, cutting ‘as much as 12 months from the current four years’.

Four years is longer than the time between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the end of the war in the Pacific. Defence is talking the language of a strategic crisis but hasn’t yet worked out how to break out of a peacetime acquisition mindset.

AUKUS provides the best platform we have to think again about the design of the defence force. This will only happen with ministerial push. There is literally no time to lose.


 
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