First three RAN officers assigned to serve on Virginia N-submarines


Another step in the process of Australia acquiring, and eventually building, nuclear powered submarines has been taken with the first three Royal Australian Navy officers assigned to US Virginia class submarines based at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The officers, ​Lieutenant Commander James Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Adam Klyne and Lieutenant William Hall, were assigned after graduating from their submarine training in Groton, Connecticut.

Graduation from the Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC) followed their studies at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command and Nuclear Power Training Unit in South Carolina.

​The officers have now completed the US Navy’s 15-month nuclear submarine training pipeline, trained alongside US Navy sailors, and learned the fundamentals of operating nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs).

The Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond said: ​“Their commitment and dedication over the past 15 months has paid off, and they are now well-equipped to put their training into action aboard Virginia class submarines.

​“They have set a high bar for Navy officers who will follow in their footsteps, and demonstrated that Australia’s future fleet of conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines will be in safe hands.”

Lieutenant Commander Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Klyne and Lieutenant Hall will now serve as division officers on Virginia class submarines, leading a team of highly trained US submariners.

At Groton, the Royal Australian Navy officers experienced the same training as US Navy officers entering the submarine force. Their training at the SOBC involved the hands-on experience needed to safely operate Australia’s future conventionally-armed SSNs.

​The number of Royal Australian Navy personnel training across the US will increase to over 100 in the next 12 months.

Picture: HIH/Virginia class submarine undergoing trials

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