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Marles to tour British submarine yards

Defence Minister Richard Marles will tour key British shipyards as the government moves ahead with its decision to purchase nuclear-powered submarines.

The 18-month consultation period under which the government will decide whether to purchase US or UK made submarines is coming up in March 2023.

Mr Marles previously visited Washington, and will now tour yards “which build some of the world’s most capable ships and submarines”.

“Our relationship with the United Kingdom is both historic and mutually beneficial, and is reflected through our continued commitment to AUKUS,” he said in a statement.

“I look forward to meeting my counterpart, Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, and collaborating on a new era of opportunities and challenges.”

The defence minister, who is also deputy prime minister, will visit France and Germany over a four-day stint as Europe looks to expand its presence in the Indo-Pacific.

Germany recently joined Exercise Pitch Black, which brought around 100 aircraft to Australia’s Top End, for the first time, and mobilised fighter jets to Singapore within 24 hours to highlight its rapid response capabilities.

Mr Marles will meet with his German and French counterparts to discuss defence co-operation as well as participate in industry roundtables.

“This visit reflects the importance we attach to our European partnerships and reaffirms the government’s commitment to working together towards shared strategic goals that transcend geography,” Mr Marles said.

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