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The Australian gov't is set to scrap an AUD90b (USD65.9bn) deal with French defence manufacturer Naval Group for the provision of up to 12 French designed boats, and instead will use US and UK technology for the construction of a new class of nuclear-powered subs to replace the six diesel-electric Collins class boats currently in use by the Royal Australian Navy.
- The new tripartite Indo-Pacific partnership will be known as AUKUS, with US President Joe Biden set to make comments on the deal later today.
- While the new subs are under construction, with the UK set to provide Canberra with the required reactor tech, there is the prospect of US nuclear subs being based at HMAS Stirling in Perth, Western Australia.
- The move is a clear attempt by Western-oriented nations to counter Chinese military activity in the South China Sea and wider Indo-Pacific region, and will likely be viewed as a provocation by Beijing.
- Biden set to deliver comments at 1700ET (2200BST, 0700AEDT) on the subject of a 'national security initiative', where the subject of AUKUS could be raised.
- Australian FM currently in Washington, D.C. in preparation for the first in-person Quad leaders' summit involving Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga, and Indian PM Narendra Modi. Quad is another US-aligned group intended to counter Chinese influence and military activity in the region.