Britain’s Royal Navy took charge of its fifth Astute-class nuclear submarine on August 31, but it was news that Australian submariners were going to train on the boat as part of the so-called AUKUS pact that caught much of the attention.
HMS Anson was commissioned at the Barrow-in-Furness yard of BAE Systems where the seven-strong Astute fleet is being built to replacing aging Trafalgar-class boats.
The guest list for the commissioning included Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who is also the defense minister, along with the soon-to-be-replaced British prime minister Boris Johnson and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
The Ministry of Defence took the opportunity of the commissioning to reveal that Royal Australian Navy personnel are already participating in specialized nuclear training courses conducted by the U.K. and United States.
More personnel are scheduled to follow next year ahead of Australian submariners undertaking training onboard HMS Anson and other Astute-class boats, as Canberra builds its nuclear know-how.
The training arrangement is among the first tangible co-operation results in the public domain after last year Australia, Britain and the U.S. agreed the pact to strengthen defense ties.
The pact, known as AUKUS, is principally focused on Australia eventually building a fleet of nuclear submarines using British and U.S. know-how.
The three-nation agreement resulted in the cancellation of a major deal with France to build a fleet of conventionally powered submarines, causing a serious political and industrial rift with Paris.
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