Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines acquisition is the defence’s ‘single biggest investment,’ says gov’t

Image credit:

The governments of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have agreed to deliver SSN-AUKUS, a new conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarine, which the Australian government considers the ‘single biggest investment’ in its defence capability.

In particular, the submarine will be based on UK design, incorporating cutting-edge Australian, UK and US technologies, the Albanese government said in a media release. 

The UK will also deliver its own first SSN-AUKUS in the late 2030s, with the first SSN-AUKUS built in Australia delivered in the early 2040s.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said increasing American submarine visits starting in 2023 and UK submarine visits starting in 2026, along with rotations of UK and US submarines visiting Australia starting in 2027, will be crucial for Australian jobs, infrastructure, technology, and Australia’s capacity to be prepared for a sovereign takeover.

Delivery of three American Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines to Australia starting in the 2030s will also help ensure there is no capability gap.

“We expect the phased approach will result in $6 billion invested in Australia’s industrial capability and workforce over the next four years, creating around 20,000 direct jobs over the next 30 years,” PM Albanese said. 

He said the national effort represents an opportunity for new jobs, industries, and expertise in science, technology, and cyber.

Businesses will also have the opportunity to add to and profit from these opportunities over many years in every state and territory in the nation, the PM said.

This will result in an anticipated $2 billion investment into South Australia over the next four years and an additional $1 billion into Western Australia.

As a result, the Australian Government’s said its commitment will require funding for the phased approach of around 0.15 per cent of GDP per year, averaged over the program’s lifespan.

“Our plan elevates Australia’s industrial capacity to produce and sustain advanced SSNs, alongside our AUKUS partners,” the prime minister said. 

“Importantly, the SSNs will be an Australian sovereign capability, commanded by the Royal Australian Navy and sustained by Australians in Australian shipyards,” he added. 

In continued close collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the government said Australia and its AUKUS partners are committed to setting the highest nuclear non-proliferation standard for Australia’s acquisition of SSNs.