US, UK to increase visits by their submarines to Australia

The UK and the US plan to increase the frequency of visits by their submarines to Australia, according to a joint statement by defense ministers from the three countries.

The statement followed talks to discuss the AUKUS partnership between the nations, which were held in California

It said the countries "agreed to the increased frequency" of submarine visits to the Australian naval base Stirling in 2024, in a move that will build on the visit by the US submarine North Carolina to Australia’s Perth in August 2023.

The next visit by a US submarine is planned to occur in the first half of 2024, and the first maintenance activity of a US submarine in Stirring is planned to take place in the second half of 2024, according to the statement.

"This will represent a substantial increase in Australian Defense Force participation in maintenance activities on US nuclear-powered submarines," the statement said.

The UK reiterated its commitment to increasing such visits beginning in 2026, according to the statement.

The US, UK and Australia established AUKUS in 2021. This partnership provides, among other things, for the construction of nuclear submarines for Canberra and some joint military research. The White House said the partnership could expand in the future by including US partners in Europe and Asia.

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