Today I depart for Europe to further enhance Australia’s international defence engagement with the United Kingdom, France and NATO.
Australia’s defence relationships with our European partners are based on our shared history, common values and a commitment to uphold the international rules-based order.
In the UK, I will meet with senior defence officials including the British Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt to discuss the unique closeness of our bilateral relationship and how this enables us to meet the shared security challenges of the future. I will also deliver a keynote speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies to outline how our two nations are strengthening our defence relationship in a changing strategic environment.
At Scotland’s Govan Shipyard, I will examine opportunities for increased defence industry collaboration, including in support of Australia’s $35 billion Hunter Class. I will also promote Australia’s defence industry during a visit to the Thales establishment in Glasgow, where Australian-designed Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles will be built if selected for the UK’s Multi-Role Vehicle – Protected (MRV-P) Program.
In Belgium I will meet with NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and reassert Australia’s commitment as a reliable NATO partner. I will also participate in strategic level discussions with NATO Ambassadors and the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.
In France, I will meet with French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly to discuss opportunities to further strengthen the bilateral defence relationship, especially in the Indo-Pacific.
My visit to France will be an opportunity to meet the workforce from Defence, Naval Group and Lockheed Martin Australia who are working together on Australia’s Attack Class submarine fleet. I look forward to attending the launch of the first Barracuda Class submarine, the Suffren at the Naval Group Cherbourg shipyard.