21 Jan 2013

New defence treaty between UK and Australia agreed

Philip-Hammond-the-shadow-001A new defence treaty to provide a framework for the strands of co-operation between the UK and Australia has been signed.

The treaty, signed on 18 January, will see the two countries work together in areas such as cyber security, defence reform, personnel exchange, equipment, and science and technology.

With both Britain and Australia due to build new frigates in the coming years, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond worked with Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith to explore the possibility of co-operation over mutual design work for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ship – a design that could also meet the needs of the Royal Australian Navy.

Mr Hammond said:

‘This government has made a concerted effort to renew and strengthen our relationship with one of our oldest allies. This defence treaty will drive forward closer co-operation on a wide range of issues, making our forces more interoperable and maximising our capabilities.

‘Areas of potential co-operation include future frigates, with the Royal Navy’s Type 26 design, a cutting-edge blueprint that could be the first of many opportunities for future collaboration. In times of budget pressures for all nations, it makes sense to maximise economies of scale and work with our friends to get the best value for money on all sides.’

During the annual Australia/UK ministerial summit, the Defence Secretary also visited the Australian HMAS Stirling Naval Base, the frigate HMAS Perth, the submarine HMAS Farncomb and the Henderson shipyard.