In a significant development, the United States, Britain, and Australia agreed to collaborate on developing hypersonic weapons and electronic warfare capabilities.
The new AUKUS alliance, launched in September 2021, prompted Australia to cancel a contract for a conventional French submarine in favour of a nuclear submarine program supported by the United States and Britain.
In a joint statement, AUKUS leaders Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison and Joe Biden said they were pleased with the progress of the programme for conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines for Australia, and that the allies would co-operate in other areas too.
“We also committed today to commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities,” states the joint statement.
Australia and the United States have an existing hypersonic weapon programme called Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE).
“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,” the leaders said, adding they also reaffirmed their commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched what it called a “special military operation” in Ukraine to demilitarize and clean it of Neo Nazi influence. The presence of US funded bioweapon centers in Ukraine along with Ukraine stating its intentions to join NATO have been a redline for Moscow.
When asked to comment on the deal, China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun warned against measures that could fuel a crisis like the Ukraine conflict in other parts of the world. “Anyone who do not want to see the Ukrainian crisis should refrain from doing things which may lead the other parts of the world into a crisis like this,” said Zhang. “As the Chinese saying goes: If you do not like it, do not impose it against the others.”