AUKUS Alliance

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    • Recently, the U.S., U.K. and Australia announced a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific region named ‘AUKUS ‘.
      • The three countries are already sharing extensive intelligence through the Five Eyes alliance.
        • Five Eyes alliance is an intelligence-sharing arrangement between the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    AUKUS Alliance

    • Under it, the U.S., U.K will help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines in the Pacific region.
    • Focus: The focus of AUKUS will be on integrating all defence and security related science, supply chains, industrial bases and technology.
    • It will also focus on protecting shared values and promoting security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Implications: 
      • Globally 
        • It will help Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) in cooperation with the UK & the US. 
        • It will involve a new architecture of engagements across emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, cyber capabilities, and additional undersea capabilities.
        • It will enhance  Australia’s contribution to its other partnerships, including the QUAD.
        • The deal is seen as a step towards curtailing China, which has made significant aggressive manoeuvres in the Pacific region, especially in and around the South China Sea, where it has expansive territorial claims.
    • For India
      • QUAD is meaningless w/o the necessary capability upgrade of its members, so it provides Naval strength to them.
      • India needs a broader coalition of countries in the Indo-Pacific region to deal with China.
      • Any measure that boosts the capability of India’s partners is a welcome move.

    Nuclear submarines 

    • A nuclear-powered submarine is classified as an “SSN” under the US Navy hull classification system, wherein ‘SS’ is the symbol for submarine, and ‘N’ stands for nuclear. 
    • A nuclear-powered submarine that can launch ballistic missiles is called “SSBN”.
    • Conventional diesel-engine submarines have batteries that keep and propel — though not very fast — the vessel underwater. 
      • The life of these batteries can vary from a few hours to a few days.
    • The newer Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines have additional fuel cells that allow them to stay underwater for longer and move faster than the conventional vessels. 
      • However, the fuel cells are used only at strategic times, when the endurance to remain submerged is required.
    • Both conventional and AIP subs need to come to the surface to recharge their batteries using the diesel engine. 
      • The diesel engine also propels the vessel on the surface. However, the fuel cells of AIP can only be charged at on-land stations, not while at sea.
    • Importance SSN 
      • The great advantage of an SSN is that its nuclear-powered propulsion gives the submarine a near-infinite capacity to stay dived. 
      • Since it is propelled by a nuclear-powered engine rather than by batteries, it does not have to emerge on the surface at all, except to replenish supplies for the crew.
      • SSNs are also able to move faster underwater than conventional submarines
        • These advantages allow a navy to deploy these submarines quicker and at farther distances.
    • It gives a navy the capability to reach far out into the ocean and launch attacks.

    India’s nuclear-powered submarines

    •  India is among the six nations that have SSNs. 
      • The other five are the US, the UK, Russia, France and China.
    • India has had the capacity since it got the Soviet-built K-43 Charlie-class SSN in 1987. 
      • Commissioned with the Red Fleet of the USSR in 1967, it was leased to the Indian Navy and was rechristened INS Chakra. 
        • The submarine was decommissioned in 1991.
    • In 2012 India got another Russian SSN on a 10-year lease, called INS Chakra 2.
    • The first Indian nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant, was commissioned in 2016. 
      • A second Arihant-class submarine, INS Arighat, was secretly launched in 2017 and is likely to be commissioned soon.
        • After it demonstrated the capability to launch nuclear weapons in 2018, the INS Arihant is now classified as a Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarine or SSBN, which means it is a nuclear-powered ballistic submarine.

    Source: IE