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Australia Picks BAE to Build Multibillion-Dollar Nuclear Submarines

The Australian government has selected BAE Systems to build its new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS trilateral security pact with the US and the UK.

Dubbed the SSN-AUKUS, the submarine will be based on next-generation British design but will incorporate cutting-edge systems from the US.

To ensure smooth construction and timely delivery, Canberra will earmark 4.6 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion) for the program.

BAE will work alongside local naval firm ASC to build the new submarines, beginning in the late 2020s.

The first submarine under order is expected to be delivered in the early 2040s.

Once commissioned, Australia will become the seventh nation in the world to operate nuclear-powered subs.

‘Largest, Most Powerful’

According to BAE Systems, the SSN-AUKUS will be the largest and most powerful nuclear attack submarine the Royal Australian Navy has ever operated.

It will also leverage the two companies’ expertise to ensure that the vessel will have advanced capabilities.

“We’re extremely proud of our role in the delivery of this vitally important, tri-nation submarine program,” company chief executive Charles Woodburn said.

“Our selection as a partner in Australia, alongside ASC, recognizes our role as the UK’s long-term submarine design and build partner and as a key player in Australia’s maritime enterprise and wider defense landscape.”

Australia plans to acquire at least three nuclear submarines as part of the AUKUS pact.

‘Expensive but Necessary’

Australia’s decision to advance the AUKUS project comes as China continues to assert its military power in the Indo-Pacific.

Given the escalating tensions and evolving threats, British Defense Minister Grant Shapps said investing in nuclear submarines is expensive but necessary.

Nuclear-powered subs are quieter and more stealthy than conventional submarines and capable of supporting long-range missions without the need to surface and be exposed to enemies.

Nuclear-powered submarines are not cheap,” Shapps told ABC News. “But we live in a much more dangerous world where we are seeing a much more assertive region with China, a much more dangerous world all around with what’s happening in the Middle East and Europe.”

He urged other countries to continue investing in defense to show adversaries they are serious about defending their national security.

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