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  • From Down Under for the Down Under
    Posted by Michael Bruno 4:14 PM on Jul 28, 2011

    The Australian defense minister and top military officer are in Washington for talks with U.S. officials, but it is not aircraft or Afghanistan that seems foremost on their minds; it’s submarines.

    Their message to Washington: Australia is a proven, “value-added” ally, and our new conventional submarines should complement your nuclear-powered undersea fleet. Also, we would like your help building them.

    “I don’t think the alliance relationship has ever been better,” Minister Stephen Smith said at a Brookings Institution speech here July 27. “It makes sense with our allies for those fleets to be strategically complementary.”

    In prepared and live comments to the Brookings audience, and in advance media interviews in Australia, Smith has cited U.S. experience with complex defense acquisitions, particularly in subs. “They’re very experienced in this area,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s Radio National broadcast July 25.

    “Part of this planning is to talk to our friends and partners who have significant expertise in designing, building and operating submarines,” he said at Brookings. “Part of this planning is also making sure that our future submarine, its combat systems and capabilities, is interoperable with U.S. forces so we can continue to work together to meet security challenges into the future.”

    Tags: ar99, wellington, Australia, submarine

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