AUKUS naval leaders gather in Perth for defence summit

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Image credit: BAE Systems

Western Australia’s strategic significance in defence has been underscored with the announcement of the Indian Ocean Defence and Security (IODS) conference set to host the Chiefs of Navy from the three AUKUS nations.

The summit, scheduled to take place in Perth, will witness the participation of Admiral Lisa Franchetti from the United States, Admiral Sir Benjamin Key from the United Kingdom, and Vice Admiral Mark Hammond from Australia.

The convergence of these key naval figures marks a historic moment, as it will be the first time that the Chiefs of Navy from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia will be simultaneously present in Australia, the government said in a media statement.

This gathering signifies the growing importance of Western Australia in the context of defence, particularly regarding the acquisition and deployment of conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines, which are slated to be stationed at HMAS Stirling.

Commencing in 2027, Perth is slated to become the home base for US and UK sailors, who will operate five nuclear-powered submarines rotating through Western Australia.

This significant development underscores the region’s pivotal role in maritime security and cooperation among the AUKUS partners.

The biennial IODS conference serves as a platform to address challenges and opportunities in international engagement, while also examining how the defence industry can contribute to diplomacy, defence, and security policies in the Indian Ocean region.

Moreover, the event will feature discussions on defence career options, aimed at attracting a diverse pool of graduates and skilled professionals to Western Australia’s burgeoning defence industry.

Defence Industry Minister Paul Papalia underscored the significance of having all three AUKUS nations’ Chiefs of Navy attending the Indian Ocean Defence and Security Conference.

This participation, according to him, reinforces Western Australia’s central role in the delivery and ongoing sustainment of nuclear submarines.

“The Cook Government’s continued investment in our local defence industry, including the IODS conference, further shows our confidence in Western Australia’s capability to support AUKUS,” the minister noted.

In 2022, the IODS conference drew over 600 attendees, including government officials, academic scholars, and defence industry representatives from across the globe.

For additional information on the Indian Ocean Defence and Security conference, you may visit the IODS website.