UK and Australia to strengthen defence relationship
The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has met with Australia Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne following the country’s decision to buy a British warship design as part of a £20 billion deal.
The meeting between the two ministers, and Defence Minister for procurement Guto Bebb, follows the decision to select British firm BAE Systems as the preferred bidder for Australia’s ‘SEA 5000’ Future Frigate competition, securing the biggest international ship deal of the decade.
The agreement will see nine cutting-edge British Type 26 Global Combat Ships built in Adelaide, supporting 4,000 Australian jobs and boosting the two nations’ military capabilities.
Discussing future cooperation between the two nations at the Australia – United Kingdom Ministerial Equipment and Industry Dialogue, Mr Williamson and Mr Pyne agreed to deepen their countries’ equipment relationship and explore future industry collaboration.
During the dialogue, the ministers discussed the importance of working together to leverage the strengths of each other’s industries while maximising access to cutting edge defence capabilities from both countries.
They also spoke about improving and driving down costs across the supply chain for naval ships, discussed defence industry up-skilling initiatives and agreed to establish a Memorandum of Understanding to support industry and equipment collaboration.
Mr Williamson said: “The £20bn Global Combat Ship deal struck between BAE Systems and the Australian Government marks the start of an exciting new era in our nations’ defence and industrial partnership, creating jobs for generations and keeping us safe.
“It is also a major vote of confidence in British design, British engineering, and British innovation at a vital moment in our history.
“From my meeting with Minister Pyne today, it is clear that both our nations have a shared desire to work more closely together to strengthen and equip our militaries to defeat the threats of a darker and more dangerous world.”
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