Astute-class Royal Navy submarine part of CSG21 alongside in Perth, Australia 291021 CREDIT UK IN AUSTRALIA TWITTER
The Astute-class submarine alongside in Perth, Australia (Picture: British High Commission Australia/Twitter).
Navy

Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute visits Australia – six weeks after AUKUS deal

The Astute-class boat's visit follows the signing of the AUKUS submarine deal which sparked anger from France.

Astute-class Royal Navy submarine part of CSG21 alongside in Perth, Australia 291021 CREDIT UK IN AUSTRALIA TWITTER
The Astute-class submarine alongside in Perth, Australia (Picture: British High Commission Australia/Twitter).

Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute has docked in Australia – six weeks after the announcement of the AUKUS submarine deal

The groundbreaking defence pact will see the UK, US and Australia work together to develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy for the first time.

The British High Commission shared photos on social media of the Astute-class vessel alongside in Perth, Western Australia. 

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The Royal Navy has four Astute-class submarines – the Commission did not initially state which boat it was, but Navy chief, First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, later confirmed on Twitter it was HMS Astute.

The Commission said the vessel is part of the UK-led Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) deployment and her visit demonstrates the UK's commitment to the region which AUKUS reinforces. 

Spearheaded by aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the formation has spent recent months in the Indo-Pacific and is now on its return journey to the UK after making a visit to India.

Watch: What is the AUKUS deal?

"This visit, and the warm welcome our Royal Navy has received, exemplifies our commitment to the region, and the spirit of mateship that underpins the bonds between our two great nations," UK High Commissioner Vicki Treadell said.

Australian defence minister Peter Dutton visited the nuclear-powered submarine and was pictured on her deck.

He tweeted: "It was a pleasure to meet the crew, I wish them well on their break."

The AUKUS deal will see the US, UK and Australia work closely together and share technology.

It has been widely interpreted as an attempt to check China's growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific – a region both the US and UK have an interest in, reflected by the CSG21 deployment.

The pact also prompted anger from France, as it saw Australia move away from a £47bn deal with Paris to provide diesel-electric submarines.

Nuclear-powered submarines, like those to be produced under AUKUS, can spend longer underwater, are more survivable and do not need to surface to recharge batteries, meaning they can travel further while undetected. 

Watch: AUKUS – why is there a row with France?