MOUNTAIN VIEW, California (AP) — From underwater drones to electronic warfare, the U.S. is expanding its high-tech military cooperation with Australia and the United Kingdom as part of a broader effort to counter China's rapidly growing influence in the Indo-Pacific.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with defense chiefs from Australia and the United Kingdom at the U.S. military's defense technology hub in Silicon Valley on Friday to forge a new agreement to increase technology cooperation and information sharing. The goal, according to a joint statement, is to be able to better address global security challenges, ensure each can defend against rapidly evolving threats and to “contribute to stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.”
Austin met with Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles and Grant Shapps, the British secretary of state for defense, at the Defense Innovation Unit headquarters.
Speaking at a news conference after the meeting, Austin said the effort will, for example, rapidly accelerate the sophistication of the drone systems, and prove that “we are stronger together.”
The new technology agreement is the next step in a widening military cooperation with Australia that was first announced in 2021. The three nations have laid out plans for the so-called AUKUS partnership to help equip Australia with a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines. AUKUS is an acronym…