U.S., U.K. and Australia pledge defense pact on hypersonic missile development

On Tuesday, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia agreed to work together to develop hypersonic weapons and other electronic warfare. British PM Boris Johnson’s office said that there had been a call between the leaders on this new project. The alliance between these three countries came into force, last September. The trilateral security partnership has been formed to protect the Indo-Pacific region.

In a joint statement, the AUKUS leaders said that they were pleased with the progress between the three countries for providing conventionally armed, nuclear powered submarines to Australia. The statement also said that they would start a new cooperation between the three nations on “hypersonics, and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities.”

Two of the countries: U.S. and Australia already have a weapons program. The U.K. is not joining in, at this point of time but would work together with them for research and development. The Biden administration has invested a lot in hypersonic missiles as defense experts indicated that both China and Russia have also heavily invested in this futuristic technology, where missiles travel five times the speed of sound or more.

Hypersonic missiles cannot be intercepted by any of the missile systems that have bene developed to date. The top U.S. commander Gen. Mark Milley believes that China’s tests on these type of weapon systems “is very concerning.” He also said that the system was used “multiple” times by Russia as it invaded Ukraine. The Pentagon has requested $4.7 billion for the research and development of hypersonic weapons in the 2023 budget.

The Tuesday statement by the three leaders, President Joe Biden of the U.S., Prime Minister of the U.K. Boris Johnson and Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that there is a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Image Wikimedia

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