The United States, Britain and Australia said Tuesday they will work together on the development of hypersonic weapons and electronic warfare capabilities, expanding the efforts of the three-way security partnership focusing on the Indo-Pacific region.
In making the fresh announcement on the AUKUS partnership, U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also reaffirmed their commitment to a "free and open Indo-Pacific" and an international system that respects human rights and the rule of law, saying the group's importance "has only grown" amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The latest move signaled the growing security role of AUKUS, which was initially launched in September as a partnership to help Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines in the face of Beijing's growing maritime assertiveness.
In a statement, the three leaders said that AUKUS is committed to commencing "new trilateral cooperation" on hypersonics, counter-hypersonics and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as expanding information-sharing and deepening cooperation on defense innovation.
The initiatives will add to their existing efforts to deepen cooperation on cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and other advanced capabilities, the statement said.
The U.S. government has expressed concerns over China's hypersonic weapons development. Hypersonic missiles are designed to travel at more than five times the speed of sound.