Australia is expected to announce buying up to five U.S. Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines as part of a landmark defense agreement between the U.S. and the U.K.
The agreement, known as the AUKUS pact, will have multiple stages with U.S. submarines visiting Australian ports in the coming years and end in the late 2030s with a new class of submarines being built with British designs and American technology, one of the officials said.
In the early 2030s, Australia would buy three Virginia-class submarines and have the option to buy two more.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will meet U.S. President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in San Diego, California, to reveal AUKUS’s next steps.
It suggested that the Virginia-class submarines from the U.S. would be a “stop-gap” while Australia and the U.K. worked together on a design for a next-generation submarine from the existing Astute class vessel, noting that the task’s complexity meant it might not be ready until the 2040s.