in Defence / Security

UK advances partnership with US and Australia to strengthen security

Posted 4 December 2023

A landmark security partnership entered a new phase today as the Defence Ministers of the UK, Australia and United States met to advance new programmes on threat detection, quantum technology and autonomous systems.

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Strengthening security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, the Ministers revealed new combined future exercises will improve each nations’ ability to work together, enhance capability development, and test the joint operation of uncrewed platforms, radically improving a shared ability to tackle emerging threats.  

Speaking at the Defense Innovation Unit Headquarters in California, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasised the opportunity to meet global security challenges through closer relationships between our Armed Forces.

The Ministers highlighted that all three nations are progressing towards more seamless defence and industrial collaboration, better information and technology sharing, and greater resilience, helping develop joint capabilities to meet threats and deter aggression.

UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps (above) said: "Today AUKUS enters a new phase. Together with our partners in the US and Australia we have strengthened our alliance to bring our Armed forces closer than ever and ensure our nations are protected from new and advanced threats.

"As the world becomes more dangerous, AUKUS only becomes more important in ensuring the UK and our allies maintain a strategic advantage. That’s why we’ve today driven forward joint programmes on threat detection, quantum technology and autonomous systems.

"This progress will radically improve our shared ability to tackle emerging threats and demonstrates our commitment to making our militaries more lethal, more connected and more prepared."

Beyond our collaboration on the future Class of conventionally-armed nuclear powered submarines, the second pillar of AUKUS will see unprecedented collaboration in advanced capabilities and technologies, with many key progress updates shared publicly today, including:

  • Strengthening cyber capabilities across the three AUKUS partners, including protecting critical communications and operations systems.
  • Improving anti-submarine warfare capabilities by being able to jointly process data from each nations’ sonobuoys – used to detect and identify objects in the water – and sharing it with multiple undersea systems and P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
  • Integrating the ability to launch and recover undersea vehicles from torpedo tubes on current submarines to deliver strike, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.
  • Developing quantum technologies to support global positioning and enhance stealth in undersea capabilities, including future SSN-AUKUS submarines.

During the meeting, Ministers also highlighted the exceptional progress made on Pillar 1 of AUKUS which will result in Australia acquiring a conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability, SSN-AUKUS, which will also be used by the UK. This includes increased training opportunities for Australian sailors in the UK and US, and more planned visits of US and UK nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. AUKUS partners reaffirmed their shared commitment to upholding the highest standard for nuclear non-proliferation.

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