- Sputnik International, 1920, 24.01.2023
Find top stories and features from Asia and the Pacific region. Keep updated on major political stories and analyses from Asia and the Pacific. All you want to know about China, Japan, North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Australia to Develop Unmanned Submarines Amid Growing Tensions Over Sino-Solomon Security Pact

© Photo : ANDURILExtra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (XLUUV)
Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (XLUUV)  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.05.2022
Canberra's announcement on developing unmanned submarines comes amid tensions in the region over the security pact between China and the Solomon Islands. The pact has been described as a "policy failure" by Australia's federal opposition Labor Party and has taken centre stage in the ongoing federal election campaign ahead of voting on 21 May.
The Australian government on Thursday announced a new plan to develop ‘Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (XLAUV)’, or uncrewed submarines, in collaboration with American defence technology firm Anduril Industries, as per an official statement.

Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said that three prototypes would be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) over the next three years under the new programme.

He underlined that the robotic submarines would be between 10 and 30 metres long and have the “capacity to carry various military payloads over long distances”.
“This capability would potentially complement and enhance the agility and potency of the Navy’s current submarine and surface combatant force in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” stated the Defence Minister.
Dutton also remarked that unmanned vessels would present “disruptive and difficult undersea problems for any adversary”.

A statement from Anduril Industries said that an XL-AUV could be deployed for military and non-military missions, including “advanced intelligence, infrastructure inspection, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting”.

The company further said that the new unmanned submarines would be developed in Australia through hiring and training of the local workforce.
“Through this partnership, Anduril Australia will become a major player in the thriving defence industrial base in Australia and contribute to Australia becoming a leading exporter of cutting-edge autonomous capability to the rest of the world,” remarked David Goodrich, the Executive Chairman and CEO at Anduril Australia.

Haven’t Threatened an Invasion of Solomon Islands, Says Australian PM

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday fended off criticism from his Solomon Islands’ counterpart Manasseh Sogavare, who claimed in the country’s Parliament this week that his government was being threatened with a “military intervention” by Western nations.
Sogavare also accused Australia and the US of “undermining” his government since it signed the security deal with Beijing.

“Well, of course not. Of course, we haven't threatened that [an invasion],” Morrison clarified in an interview on Thursday.

He added that Australia continued to remain the Solomon Islands’ primary security partner in spite of the Pacific nation’s growing proximity with Beijing, which is currently Honiara’s largest two-way trading partner.
Morrison last month stated that a potential Chinese military base on the Solomon Islands would constitute a “red line” for Canberra and Washington, without elaborating on what the “red line” meant.
The surfacing of the new security deal also prompted a visit from a high-level US delegation comprising White House’s National Security Council coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs and Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Kritenbrink has said that the US would “very naturally respond” to the establishing of a “de facto permanent military presence, power projection capabilities, or a military installation” by China on the Solomon Islands.
For its part, Beijing has slammed both Australia and the US for having “double-standards” over the Solomon Islands-China pact.

“The US showed no openness and transparency when it conducted nuclear tests and dumped nuclear wastes in the South Pacific region and when AUKUS opened the Pandora’s Box of nuclear proliferation in the Asia-Pacific region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a routine press briefing last month.

The trilateral AUKUS pact between Australia, the UK and the US, announced last September, seeks to provide the Royal Australian Navy with capabilities to domestically manufacture nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) as well as hypersonic missiles.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала