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Astute Class sub visits Perth

Credit: Department of Defence | LSIS Richard Cordell

A nuclear-powered submarine has docked in WA as part of a regional deployment in the Indo-Pacific.

A nuclear-powered submarine has docked in WA as part of a regional deployment in the Indo-Pacific.

A Royal Navy Astute Class submarine is conducting a port visit to Perth, joining HMAS Stirling in Rockingham, Western Australia.

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The vessel’s arrival in Perth follows its deployment with the UK Carrier Strike Group, led by air craft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The task group was most recently operating in the Indo-Pacific, conducting exercises alongside a number of Royal Australian Navy units and other multinational partners.

Crew of the Astute Class submarine will now take a short period of respite in WA in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace noted the long history of co-operation between the UK, Australia and Five Eyes intelligence partners.

“With many shared security interests, it is natural that Australia is at the heart of the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt,” Secretary Wallace said.

“The permanent maritime presence in the region provided by HMS Tamar and Spey further demonstrates this resolve and our commitment to a truly global Britain.”

The port visit comes less than two months after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new trilateral security partnership between Australia, the UK and the US, dubbed AUKUS.

As part of the deal, Australia is set to build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia under a knowledge-sharing arrangement.

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said the port visit was a further demonstration of the nations’ commitment to bolstering collective efforts in response to regional challenges.

“The Royal Navy’s visit to Perth reflects this commitment but is also a clear demonstration of the strong ties between our two navies that go back more than a century,” he said.

“We look forward to continued engagement over the coming decades as we work together in the pursuit of a secure, stable and prosperous region.

“We are bound by our deep commitment to preserving a rules-based global order in the maritime domain, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, and look forward to further strengthening our strategic partnership into the future.”

[Related: Defence not considering submarine stop-gap solution]

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