Admiral (Ret’d) Harry Harris Jr told the US House Armed Services Committee that the Royal Australian Navy’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines would be “dramatic” and shift the balance of power in the Indian Ocean.
According to ADM (Ret’d) Harris, former Commander of the US Pacific Fleet and US Ambassador to South Korea, nuclear submarines would give the RAN a “long reach” and provide Australia with a blue water navy.
A blue water navy is capable of sustaining global operations at substantial distances from friendly operating bases.
While ADM (Ret’d) Harris acknowledged that there may be challenges in arming the Australian Defence Force with nuclear-powered submarines, he maintained optimistic that the joint resources of the US, the UK and Australian governments would enable the AUKUS partners to expedite the currently projected timeframes.
“It’s a decade-long process,” he told the committee.