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US President Joe Biden warned AUKUS nuclear submarine deal could come at cost to American fleet2 B1

By defence correspondent Andrew Greene and political reporter Georgia Hitch

Two powerful US politicians have raised serious concerns about the AUKUS pact, warning President Joe Biden the proposal to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines risked harming America’s industrial base to “breaking point”.

Key points:

  • The senators warned against selling or transferring Virginia-class submarines to Australia
  • A spokesperson for the defence minister says details of the AUKUS deal will be announced in the first half of 2023
  • Canberra’s outgoing US ambassador says “bedding down” AUKUS is biggest challenge for new representative Kevin Rudd

In a leaked letter dated December 21, first obtained by US publication Breaking Defense, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Republican colleague outline their anxieties over the ambitious project.

“Over the past year, we have grown more concerned about the state of the US submarine industrial base as well as its ability to support the desired AUKUS SSN [nuclear sub] end state.”

Committee chair, Senator Jack Reed, and Republican Senator James Inhofe warn the White House explicitly against any plan to sell or transfer Virginia-class submarines to Australia before the US Navy meets its current requirements.

“We believe current conditions require a sober assessment of the facts to avoid stressing the US submarine industrial base to the breaking point,” the Senators are quoted as saying………….

Their dramatic intervention comes just three months before the Albanese government unveils its nuclear submarine plan and is the first time members of Congress have raised major concerns about AUKUS, which enjoys bi-partisan support in Washington.

In August a senior US Navy official also warned helping Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines could be too big a burden for America’s already overstretched shipyards. ……………………………………………………… more https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-06/biden-warned-aukus-deal-could-imperil-us-submarines/101832468

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January 7, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war

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