Royal Australian Navy sailors to embed with US submarine support facility in Guam 19/02/2024 | Fabio Di Felice

In accordance with a statement released by the Australian Defence Force (ADF), a group of 37 Royal Australian Navy (RAN) officers and sailors have reached Guam to embed on board USS EMORY S. LAND (in picture), the United States submarine tender, as part of the AUKUS agreements.

In detail, this deployment is the first step in preparations for building the Submarine Rotational-Force West where, from as early as 2027, one UK ASTUTE-class submarine and up to 4 US VIRGINIA-class submarines will have a rotational presence at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia. As confirmed by the Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Richard Marles, this is also a significant step for Australia’s acquisition of conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines, by learning from their AUKUS partners.

RAN personnel will spend up to 5 months on board the USS EMORY S. LAND integrating with US sailors in order to build unique knowledge, skills, and experience in how the US conducts nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) maintenance. This important opportunity will significantly contribute to developing the workforce needed to support Australia’s future new capability, at the same time it will help to refine the program of work already underway for ADF personnel and civilians to gain valuable education and experience in US and United Kingdom shipyards and facilities. Last year marked the first Australian sailor to graduate from US nuclear power school, and since then, Australian sailors have been serving on US VIRGINIA-class submarines in Hawaii.

Australia stays fully committed to upholding the highest non-proliferation standard in its acquisition of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines as the first pillar of the AUKUS agreement. Australia should field its first nuclear submarine by the 2030s and the first Australian-built boats by 2040.

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