First Australian industry staff enter nuclear training programmes


Training efforts are ramping up for Royal Australian Navy officers and staff of submarine builder ASC which will build AUKUS-SSN nuclear powered submarines in Adelaide in partnership with BAE Systems Australia.

The first RAN officers are about to graduate from nuclear technology courses in both the United States and the United Kingdom, while ASC staff are poised to commence placements at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

The revelations came in a statement from defence ministers of the three AUKUS partners – Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States – which also outlined progress in defence industry integration.

The ASC employees will begin work at the shipyard to develop the skills necessary to sustain Virginia class SSNs.

They will be the first Australian civilian industry personnel to train in the United States following the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024.

The ministers highlighted the launch of the AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Industry Forum, which will hold its first meeting today (April 9, 2024).

According to a statement: “The Forum is the key interface between AUKUS governments and industrial bases, via our trade associations.

“It will focus on trilateral requirements, capability planning, development, and delivery of AUKUS Advanced Capabilities.

“The Industry Forum provides an opportunity for government and industry representatives to come together to exchange ideas and deepen industrial collaboration on advanced capabilities.”

​The ministers noted the first in a series of AUKUS Innovation Challenges, the AUKUS Electronic Warfare Innovation Challenge, which has been launched through the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA).

“Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are making significant investments in their respective submarine industrial bases, which will ensure the supply chains of all three nations are more resilient, integrated and productive.

“This will generate economic growth in defence and national security sectors in all three countries.

“These partnerships will pave the way for further opportunities for industry to expand and strengthen trilateral supply chains, supporting a sovereign sustainment and build capability in Australia.”

Meanwhile more than 20 Royal Australian Navy sailors and officers are currently in the U.S. Navy Submarine Training system.

The first three Royal Australian Navy submarine officers completed the U.S. naval nuclear power training pipeline and are on track to graduate from the Submarine Officer Basic Course in Groton, Connecticut later this month.

They will report to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in June to serve on U.S. Virginia class SSNs while completing further qualifications.

Over the next 12 months, these numbers will increase to more than 100 Royal Australian Navy personnel in training across the United States, including serving at sea on U.S. Virginia class SSNs.

In the United Kingdom, three Royal Australian Navy officers have completed initial nuclear power training at HMS Sultan.

They will undertake further engineering courses and are on track to graduate from the UK Nuclear Reactor course in July this year, before commencing practical qualification within the Royal Navy Submarine Arm.

These officers will be deployed on a UK Astute class SSN.

Further reading:
BAE Systems, ASC to construct Australian n-submarines
AUKUS innovation challenge targets electronic warfare

Picture: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles

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