Collins-class attack boats, HMAS Dechaineux, lead HMAS Waller and HMAS Sheean in formation at Cockburn Sound, near Rockingham, Western Australia in 2013. Photo RAN

The effort to build Australia’s fleet of nuclear attack submarines could take decades to both design the ships and create the shipbuilding capability and adequate oversight to support the effort, the chief of staff said on Thursday. naval operations, Mike Gilday.

Australia, UK and US Tripartite Technology Pact – AUKUS – established a framework that launched an 18-month study effort to define the scope of what the three countries need to get started the Royal Australian Navy program.

“That’s it, from a defense industrial base in Australia, to a community within the Australian Navy that is able to arm, train and equip these submarines to support them, to the oversight mechanism. similar to the one we have in the United States Navy to oversee these nuclear powered ships. This is a very long-term effort that will take decades before the submarine enters the water, perhaps. I don’t see this as a short-term timeline, ”Gilday said on a Thursday. Defense 1 conference.
“We have an 18-month exploratory period that will answer many of these questions and help Australia understand exactly what it needs to do to embark on a course similar to that of the US Navy.”

The Australians plan to build the new attack boat in Adelaide in South Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference last week. Nuclear submarines are widely regarded as the most complex defense construction program, with a degree of difficulty in both construction and operation. The Australians, without a nuclear capability at the national level, will have to rely on the nuclear submarine infrastructure of the United States and the United Kingdom to develop the capacity to build the new ships.

Gilday called AUKUS a “brilliant coup in terms of our position in the Pacific, in particular the China life visa”.

Last week’s announcement of the AUKUS Pact came as Canberra pulled out of a $ 90 billion Australian ($ 65.6 billion) deal with France for a dozen Attack-class submarines – a derivative of the French Navy Suffren class nuclear attack boat modified for conventional propulsion. system. Delays and complications in the program prompted the Australians’ withdrawal from the agreement, a move that sparked protests from Paris.

Last week, the French recalled their ambassadors from Washington and Canberra due to the deal being canceled.

France has agreed to send its ambassador to Washington, following a call between President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, the White House announced on Wednesday.

“The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefited from open consultations between allies on issues of strategic interest to France and our European partners. President Biden has expressed his continued commitment in this regard, ”the statement read.

On Thursday, Gilday said military-to-military relations with the French Navy were still strong despite diplomatic tensions. The announcement of the deal coincided with the International Maritime Power Symposium at Naval War College and Gilday met with the Chief of the French Navy, Admiral Pierre Vandier, on four occasions during the three-day conference.

“We continue to work closely with regards to our navies marching together, fourth and fifth generation air operations for example, our ships operating together, our submarines operating together, and so I am very confident that this will continue in a pace. , without any bumps in the road, ”he said.

Gilday cited the period of the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group operating under the command of the US 5th Fleet as an example of cooperation.

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