New Submarine Purchase Has China Scared

( Earlier this month, senior Australian ministers met with their American counterparts and one of the issues discussed was submarines.

After the meeting, Australia’s shadow defense minister Andrew Hastie suggested that his country should strike a deal with the United States for its first nuclear-powered submarines to be built in Connecticut.

While Hastie didn’t deny that getting nuclear submarines from the US would require Australia to subsidize the expansion of the US’s already-crowded production line, he argued that the strategic circumstances meant there was no time to waste.

Hastie warned that authoritarian powers were “on the move” making time of the essence. He said it would take too long to start the flagship AUKUS project to make the nuclear-powered submarines in Australia and “there’s too much risk in doing it on our own.”

Instead, Hastie said Australia needs to both get two submarines “in the water” while also “building the capacity here.”

Hastie called for “increased diplomatic engagement” between Australia and the US, adding that making nuclear submarines isn’t new to the United States.

Citing former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s warnings that China was on track to take action against Taiwan in the late 2020s or early 2030s, Hastie said Australia needs “hard power” to serve as a deterrent to China.

In September 2021, Australia backed out of a deal to acquire diesel-powered submarines from the French over concerns that the conventional subs would not meet its strategic needs.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison explained at the time that the country believes its interests were better served through the trilateral AUKUS deal it made with the United States and Great Britain.

In a recent column at 19FortyFive, defense and national security editor Brent M. Eastwood presented the nuclear submarine options from both the US and the UK that could be available for the Australians, including the US Virginia-class nuclear submarine and Britain’s Astute-class fast attack submarine.