Equipment for the country’s ground forces “arrives with depressing regularity,” years behind time, and substantially over budget, according to a report issued on April 19 by the British Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee. For instance, the programs, which provide new Ajax armored fighting vehicles and Morpheus tactical communication and information systems, have faced significant difficulties. According to the MPs’ assessment, the issue is made worse by underfunding of the defense budget expenditures and the pound’s declining purchasing value in relation to the dollar.
Ten days later, on April 28 this year, the Royal Navy informed the public about the decision to decommission the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier, launched just four years ago (in 2019), to be used as a donor for spare parts for the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier of the same class. According to the Royal Navy, the $3.72 billion aircraft carrier has docked more frequently than it has participated in naval operations, and the most recent maintenance cost $42 million.
This dispiriting news came just a month after the leaders of the US, the UK, and Australia had disclosed their ambitious long-term plans to build a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Canberra on the basis of British technology, which will cost the Australian budget $245 billion.
When it comes to extremely sophisticated projects like nuclear submarines, it seems inconceivable that the parties involved would be so irresponsible as to neglect to evaluate the contractors’ capacity to meet their obligations. Still, if you trust the claims made by senior US, British, and Australian officials, the opposite is true in the case of AUKUS. Canberra would never have consented to work together on submarine design and construction with Great Britain’s waning technological strength otherwise. The example of the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier shows that not only is Great Britain unable to complete a big naval project, but it is also facing significant technological difficulties in order to satisfy present ambitions for defense construction and equipment upgrades.
In the realm of economic crime, assigning work to a contractor who is known to be unable to perform is fraud, money laundering, or corruption.
In the context of Anglo-Saxon big politics, this appears to be retaliation against a certain sector of Australia’s elites for Canberra’s departure from a coordinated approach to restrain the PRC back in the day. This is primarily about the carefree era when Australia and China’s trading and economic relations remained unbroken, providing Canberra with significant revenue from exports to the PRC of a wide range of items, from wine and agricultural products to hard coal and other minerals.
Now, it appears that Australia is becoming yet another naval base for the deployment of US and British fleets in the Asia-Pacific Region, including the basing of US nuclear submarines in 2026, without any hope of restoring economic ties with China and, consequently, the prior level of welfare in the near future. This is in addition to paying “compensation” under the guise of investing in unfeasible defense plans.
All nations, including India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and some ASEAN members that have been invited to participate in the AUKUS, should take a closer look at this alliance.
Bakhtiar Urusov, a political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”