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U.S. guards undersea superiority with Australia-U.K. nuclear sub deal

Washington advances distributed forces as short-term deterrence against China

The U.S. plans to sell Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines to Australia under the plan announced March 13. (Photo by US Navy via Reuters)

WASHINGTON -- By sharing key defense technology to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines, the U.S. seeks to keep up its undersea military advantage over China in the Indo-Pacific.

But the arrangement announced Monday is not expected to get vessels to Canberra until the 2030s, even as worries mount over the possibility of Beijing invading Taiwan within the next several years. Washington aims to fill this deterrence gap by bolstering defense cooperation in the region.

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