Australia, the UK and the US have agreed to cooperate on hypersonic weapons following a discussion between the leaders of the three countries.

The move follows the launch of a defence and security partnership last year commonly referred to as AUKUS.

Hypersonic weapons can travel at a speed five times the speed of sound, making them extremely difficult to intercept.

As agreed, the three countries will initiate a trilateral cooperation on the development of hypersonics, counter-hypersonics and electronic warfare capabilities.

The UK, the US and Australia also agreed to strengthen defence innovation collaboration and expand the scope of information sharing.

During the call, AUKUS’ leaders, namely Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and US President Joe Biden, also evaluated the progress of the existing defence partnership.

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In a statement, Johnson said: “We reaffirmed our commitment to AUKUS and to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“In light of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, we reiterated our unwavering commitment to an international system that respects human rights, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes free from coercion.”

The leaders also expressed their satisfaction with the progress of an AUKUS programme that will equip the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with conventionally armed, nuclear‑powered submarines.

Earlier this year, the Australian Government opened a purpose-built centre in Brisbane to support the research and development of hypersonic weapons.