In September 2021, leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced the creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership called "AUKUS." AUKUS is intended to strengthen the ability of each government to support security and defense interests, building on longstanding and ongoing bilateral ties. It will promote deeper information sharing and technology sharing; and foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains.
This announcement began the 18-month trilateral consultation period with two, related lines of effort. The first initiative under AUKUS is a commitment to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. The second initiative intends to enhance joint capabilities and interoperability, focusing on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional undersea capabilities.
On March 13, 2023, AUKUS partners announced an optimal pathway to produce a nuclear-powered submarine capability in Australia at the earliest point while ensuring all three partners maintain the highest non-proliferation standards.