China: Expert discusses impact of AUKUS alliance
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Aukus, the pact between Australia, the UK and the USA, will enable Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, with access to US technology. Aukus will also cover artificial intelligence, cyber and quantum technologies, making this one of the biggest military partnerships in history.
In a joint statement, US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the partnership aimed to “promote security and prosperity” in the region.
The statement said: “This is a historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The pact is believed to represent an increase in militarisation against China, with growing concerns about Chinese military assertiveness among Western nations in recent years.
China’s embassy in Washington reacted by accusing the countries of a “Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice”.
How does the military might of these nations compare?
The US is well known for having some of the greatest military powers on earth, and this new partnership will significantly strengthen Australia’s ranking.
The UK also has a significant level of military power, as the statistics below show.
The US has never shared submarine technology with anyone but the UK, making this a groundbreaking moment and a huge win for Australia.
Read on for a comparison of key statistics.
Unsurprisingly, the US ranks highest in military spending, with US$778 billion spent in 2020.
The UK ranks fifth globally, spending US$59.2 billion in 2020.
Australia ranks twelfth, with US$27.5 billion spent in 2020.
The US tops the list again here, with a total of 1.4 million active personnel.
This is 1.2 million more than the UK, with 195,000 active personnel.
Australia has just 60,000 active personnel available to its military.
Again, the US dominates this field, with more airpower across all categories – fighter aircraft, dedicated attack aircraft, transporters, trainer aircraft, special-mission aircraft, and helicopters.
The total number of aircraft available to the US military is 13,233.
The UK follows with 738, and Australia with 425.
This category includes tanks, armoured vehicles, self-propelled artillery, towed artillery and mobile rocket projectors.
The US leads the way once more, with overwhelming numbers.
For example, the US has 40,000 armoured vehicles for the UK’s 5,500, and Australia’s 3,050.
The US continues to dominate here, with a total fleet strength of 490.
The UK’s fleet is made up of 88 vessels, and Australia’s is made up of 48.
Important in this category is the submarines, as these numbers will soon change with Australia’s development of nuclear subs under Aukus.
Currently, Australia has six submarines, the UK has 11, and the US has 68.
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