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UK, US and Australia to work together on hypersonic weapons

The three countries have said they will co-operate on the weapons as they reiterated an ‘unwavering commitment’ to human rights.

05 April 2022

The UK, US and Australia have agreed to work together on hypersonic and anti-hypersonic weaponry as the three countries reiterated “unwavering commitment” to an international system which “respects human rights”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an agreed statement on Tuesday as part of the Aukus military pact announced last year.

Initially surrounding submarines, Mr Johnson previously suggested the alliance could go beyond that and, on Tuesday, the trio committed to “commence new trilateral co-operation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen co-operation on defence innovation”.

The Russian military has boasted about its use of the Kinzhal hypersonic missile in Ukraine, the first time it had been used in combat.

G7 Summit 2019
Australian prime Minister Scott Morrison with Boris Johnson (Neil Hall/PA)

In a statement, the Aukus leaders said: “We reaffirmed our commitment to Aukus and to a free and open Indo-Pacific. In light of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, we reiterated our unwavering commitment to an international system that respects human rights, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes free from coercion.”

They added: “We also committed today to commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen co-operation on defence innovation.

“These initiatives will add to our existing efforts to deepen co-operation on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.

“As our work progresses on these, and other critical defence and security capabilities, we will seek opportunities to engage allies and close partners.”

The leaders also said they were “pleased with the progress” Australia was making in the development of nuclear-powered submarines.

The initial announcement of the Aukus pact caused outrage in Paris, as the submarine deal came at the expense of a lucrative agreement between Australia and France to provide diesel-electric boats.

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