Monday, February 6, 2023

Aukus: UK, US And Australia Announce Security Pact To Work On Hypersonic Missiles

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The UK will work together with two of its key allies on developing hypersonic and anti-hypersonic weaponry, it has been announced.

The country announced the joint move with the US and Australia on Tuesday while reiterating an ‘unwavering commitment’ to an international system which ‘respects human rights’.

It comes after the three countries agreed a so-called ‘Aukus’ military pact last year, which sparked anger in France.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a joint statement outlining an expansion of the move on Tuesday evening.

Initially, the pact involved submarines, but on Tuesday, the trio committed to ‘commence new trilateral co-operation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen co-operation on defence innovation’.

It comes after the Russian military boasted about its use of the Kinzhal hypersonic missile in Ukraine – thought to be the first time such a weapon had been used in combat.

In their statement, the Aukus leaders said: ‘We reaffirmed our commitment to Aukus and to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

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‘In light of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, we reiterated our unwavering commitment to an international system that respects human rights, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes free from coercion.’

They continued: ‘We also committed today to commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen co-operation on defence innovation.

‘These initiatives will add to our existing efforts to deepen co-operation on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.

‘As our work progresses on these, and other critical defence and security capabilities, we will seek opportunities to engage allies and close partners.’

The trio claimed they were ‘pleased with the progress’ Australia was making in the development of nuclear-powered submarines.

The initial announcement had caused outrage in Paris, as the submarine deal came at the expense of a lucrative agreement between Australia and France to provide diesel-electric boats.

Egils Levits (President, Republic of Latvia); NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; Gitanas Nauseda (President, Republic of Lithuania); Joe Biden (President of the United States of America); Andrzej Duda (President, Republic of Poland) and Zoran Milanovic (President, Croatia)

Photo Credit: Getty

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