Australia is pulling out of a $66 billion submarine-building agreement with France, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Sept. 16.
“The implementation of nuclear submarine technology means that Australia will no longer pursue a conventional Attack-class submarine program,” the prime minister said in a statement.
He said “accelerating changes in regional security make conventional submarines unsuitable” for Australia’s operational needs in the coming decades.
Morrison said France will continue to be Australia’s partner. He also expressed hope that the states could overcome the consequences of the “difficult and frustrating” decision.
For its part, the French Foreign Ministry called Australia’s decision unfortunate and condemned the country’s partnership with the United States.
Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom announced the trilateral AUKUS security and defense partnership on Sept. 15. Over the next year and a half, all three countries will work to transfer technology to Australia that the United States has traditionally only shared with the United Kingdom. We are talking, in particular, about nuclear-powered submarines.