BAE Systems Australia’s UK parent company has hinted at a role in the construction of SSN-AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide which would involve a major expansion of its local Australian operations.
The company, which employs 5,000 in Australia making it the country’s largest defence contractor, builds the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet and is involved in the design of the future submarine now dubbed SSN-AUKUS.
It also operates a new shipyard at Osborne in Adelaide where it is building Hunter class frigates for the RAN.
BAE Systems Chief Executive Charles Woodburn said the AUKUS agreement would further enhance and deepen the relationship between the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.
Woodburn said: “As a key player in the Australian maritime enterprise, we also look forward to working with the Australian government to explore how we could potentially provide additional support to this important tri-national programme through our business in Australia.”
Should this occur the company’s Osborne operation would be the largest and most capable all-digital shipyard in the world.
Woodburn said the selection of the UK’s next generation submarine design for Australia was a significant development and ‘a testament to the skills, commitment and ingenuity of everyone involved in both our Submarines business and the wider UK submarine enterprise’.
“We employ more than 10,000 people in our Barrow-in-Furness shipyard delivering the Astute and Dreadnought submarine programmes for the UK’s Royal Navy.
“We’re extremely proud to be selected as a major partner in this historic endeavour which will ultimately enable Australia to acquire its own sovereign nuclear powered submarine fleet.”
In other developments SA Premier Peter Malinauskas confirmedd that a planned university amalgamation of two of the state’s universities was part of plans to build capability and skills within the state in preparation for AUKUS.
The University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia plan amalgamation with Flinders University to remain independent.