The foundations for a successful Australian nuclear-powered submarine program in Western Australia are continuing to be laid, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the WA Government and the local subsidiary of US-based shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII).
The MoU is designed to help prepare the WA-based defence industry and the WA Government in the creation of a skilled workforce at Henderson’s Australian Marine Complex (AMC).
Improvements are being made at AMC south of Fremantle in preparation for regular rotational deployments of US and UK nuclear-powered submarines from 2027 and Australia’s first boats from 2032, while an $8 billion expansion of Fleet Base West (FBW) at nearby HMAS Stirling is underway to support the visiting submarines under the AUKUS construct.
HII is one of the world’s largest shipbuilders, employing some 42,000 workers. The company builds nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers for the US Navy, including the Virginia class submarine, between three and five of which will be transferred to Australia from 2032.
Defence Industry Minister Paul Papalia said the MoU signing was an exciting time for the WA maritime defence industry. “Not only will it expand our skill base in the defence workforce, but it signals to the international community that WA is becoming a major player in the submarine industry,” he said.
“It will also build on the relationship between WA and the much larger defence industry in the US ready to assist with the AUKUS partnership.”
Training Minister Simone McGurk said, “Signing this Memorandum of Understanding with Huntington Ingalls Industries will significantly help the (WA) Cook Government’s efforts to expand training and job opportunities in Western Australia’s defence sector.
“Huntington Ingalls Industries is a renowned international company with a wealth of experience manufacturing nuclear-powered submarines. This experience will be vital as we train local workers to work on the Virginia-class submarines, which will soon be operating from WA.”