US, UK and Australia join forces on hypersonic weapons with Russia and China in sight – POLITICO

LONDON — The US, UK and Australia will begin working together on hypersonic missile technology and electronic warfare capabilities under the umbrella of the AUKUS Security Pact.

The decision, announced by leaders of the three governments on Tuesday, is the latest step in an international race to create hypersonic weapons, which can travel at up to 10 times the speed of sound, making them much harder to detect.

It is also another example of the deepening security partnership between the US, UK and Australia after theirs Founding of AUKUS last September failed in a mega submarine deal for France and soured relations between Washington and Paris. Development of hypersonic missiles represents a long-term goal for Canberrawhich seeks to augment the long-range attack capabilities of the Australian Defense Force.

US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the cooperation in a joint statement and issued a warning to Russia and China, two countries that recently issued their hypersonic weapons.

“We have reaffirmed our commitment to AUKUS and to a free and open Indo-Pacific. In the face of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, we have reaffirmed our unwavering commitment to an international system that respects human rights, the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of disputes without coercion.”

The US, Britain and Australia agreed to “start new trilateral cooperation in the fields of hypersonic and counter-hypersonic and electronic warfare, as well as expand information sharing and deepen cooperation on defense innovation,” they said.

In March, Russia said it used a hypersonic missile to hit an ammunition dump in western Ukraine. Last year, China reportedly tested two hypersonic weapons, which caused alarms in the Pentagon.

The US successfully tested a hypersonic missile in mid-March but did not announce it for two weeks to avoid rising tensions with Russia, sources say media reports.

Biden, Johnson and Morrison said they were “pleased” with their progress in helping Australia build a “conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarine capability” and reiterated their willingness to “seek opportunities to engage allies and close partners.” .

Under AUKUS, officials from the three member countries have set up 17 trilateral working groups, nine of which focus on the nuclear-powered submarine program and the rest target other advanced technologies, including quantum, artificial intelligence, cyber capabilities and hypersonic missiles.

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