Australian defense minister says no concern about possible delays in nuclear submarines

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marls has refuted concerns that US drydock delays will delay the delivery of AUKUS nuclear submarines to Australia.

Speaking to ABC Radio’s AM on February 1, Marles said he believed the Albanian government had a clear path forward. May the submarine be delivered on time.

“We are confident that what we will be announcing in the coming weeks is a path that all partners can deliver on time, and obviously it will not be measured in weeks or months, but actually in years. It will take decades,” he said.

Marless said Australia does not underestimate the challenges involved in building capacity for its own country, but the government is confident that its trilateral partners can meet the challenges.

“AUKUS is the heart of it,” he said.

“When we finally announce the optimal path that we have been working with both the United States and the United Kingdom, we find that it is really a true trilateral effort to see both the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom. I think the United States is providing Australia with a nuclear submarine capability.”

Marles’ comments come after concerns were raised that the US Navy’s decision to shut down four submarine drydock facilities would cause significant delays to the AUKUS submarine schedule.

US Navy announced The January 27 outage was due to a seismic assessment that identified potential problems related to the remote possibility of a large earthquake occurring at the same time that the submarine could undergo maintenance.

“Our public shipyards are essential to our national defense,” said Lt. Gen. Bill Galinis, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command.

“We will begin implementing these mitigation measures immediately to safely return the drydock to full capacity as soon as possible.”

AUKUS Deal Dividing Congress

The AUKUS agreement was the subject of controversy in Washington last month. Nine MPs chose to publicize their “strong support” for the AUKUS agreement and their commitment to support the development of Australia’s nuclear submarine capability.

In a letter to President Joe Biden (pdf), they write, could be a unique opportunity to expand the industrial base to support submarine building in both the United States and Australia.

“Far from a zero-sum game, the possibility of the US providing or building new submarines under AUKUS could be a ‘rising tide lifting all boats’ if that is the tripartite talks recommendation.” Very high. See letters to the Biden administration from two senators warning against selling nuclear submarines to Australia.

The letter states that Senator Jack Reed (DR.I.) and recently retired Senator James Inhoff (R, Oklahoma) will destroy the U.S. industrial base if they supply Australia with Virginia-class nuclear submarines. It arrived a week after reports emerged expressing concern that the virus could spread to the state. point.

In a December letter, Reed and Imhove acknowledged that “what was initially touted as a ‘do no harm’ opportunity … could turn into a zero-sum game for the rare and advanced U.S. SSN[nuclear attack submarines].” I am concerned,” he said. .21 and later leaked in January.

But nine members of the House of Representatives said AUKUS’ goal was a “multigenerational effort” worth undertaking for the security of the United States and its Indo-Pacific allies.

The letter includes representatives Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut), Mike Rogers (Alabama Republican), Adam Smith (Washington Democrat), Mike Gallagher (Wisconsin Republican), and Trent Kelly (Misconsin). ​​Sippi Republican Party). , Donald Norcross (DN.J.), Rob Wittman (Republican, Virginia), Derek Kilmer (Democrat, Washington), and Blake Moore (Republican, Utah).

They acknowledged that the US submarine industry base was strained by COVID-19 restrictions. But he said the situation would not remain “static” for decades to come.

“While the current challenges in delivering new Virginia-class submarines need to be weighed in discussions about the future, the potential value and benefits of a fully integrated industrial base that could result. should be considered as well,” they wrote.

Marurz rules out the acquisition of conventionally powered temporary submarines

Meanwhile, the defense minister also ruled out plans to purchase an interim makeshift submarine while waiting for nuclear submarines to be delivered.

At a press conference in France on January 31, the Minister of Defense said: Said: “There are no plans for a conventionally powered interim submarine capability as we move toward acquiring a nuclear submarine capability that we are working on.”

moreover, individual interview Marles assured Australians on Channel Nine on 1 February that the AUKUS plan would address any capability gaps.

“We are confident in our ability to rapidly develop the ability to build nuclear submarines in Australia,” Marless said.

Marles said it will take some time to acquire that ability, but he is confident the path he unveils will address the ability gap issue.

Rebecca Zhu contributed to this article.