Aussie-made steel hull to be used in Australian SSN-AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines

Image credit: BAE Systems

The Australian government has spearheaded its efforts to ensure that Australian-made steel is used in the construction of the nation’s conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines built at Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia. 

The Australian Submarine Agency signed a $15 million contract with steel manufacturing company Bisalloy Steels for the qualification of locally-made steel for use on the country’s future SSN-AUKUS submarine. 

The contract is part of the national government’s commitment to boosting the Australian industry’s capabilities to support the AUKUS trilateral supply chain. 

Under the contract, Bisalloy Steels will perform the advanced heat treatment process on the raw plate steel to produce high-grade submarine pressure hull steel that meets or exceeds both the UK and US standards. 

The raw plate steel will be coming from leading construction industry player BlueScope. 

“The qualification of Australian steel is an important step in the Australian Government’s strategy for acquiring state-of-the-art conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy

“The strength and quality of Australian steel will keep Australian submariners safe in the SSN-AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines for decades to come, just as it does today on our Collins Class submarines.”

Aside from being used for qualification purposes, the steel produced under this contract will also be used to develop the necessary welding procedures and used in early production demonstration activities occurring ahead of the commencement of construction of Australia’s first SSN-AUKUS submarine later this decade. 

“Crucially, this contract will support jobs in an industry which is not only of strategic importance but also a source of innovation and employment, and part of the Australian fabric,” Minister Conroy added. 

The AUKUS partnership is a historical boost for Australia’s sovereign industrial and defence capabilities, signalling the federal government’s efforts to construct conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines in Australia and support future Australian jobs.