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Australia to Upgrade Future Nuclear Submarine Infrastructure on Garden Island

Canberra is investing 83 million Australian dollars ($55 million) to modernize military infrastructure on Garden Island to support the country’s future nuclear-powered submarines.

The initiative will cover 32 projects across the HMAS Stirling naval base in Western Australia, including tunnel maintenance, building upgrades, and corresponding repairs.

Work on the defense estate is expected to create more than 150 local jobs and additional opportunities for construction, trade, and other businesses in the area.

The government wrote that the modernization project would be facilitated with a simultaneous expansion in Stirling for 8 billion Australian dollars ($5.3 billion) that will continue into the next decade.

“Ensuring our Defence sites are equipped to meet operational and capability requirements, now and in the future, is essential to keeping Australians safe,” Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite stated.

“These projects, to be delivered by local businesses in the Perth region, are supporting local jobs and creating opportunities in the trades and construction industries.”

AUKUS Submarines

The investment is part of Submarine Rotational Force-West, launched by the Australian, British, and American (AUKUS) alliance in 2021.

The initiative will deploy one submarine from London and up to four US submarines near Perth by 2027. The fleet, designated “SSN-AUKUS,” will aid the countries in maintaining “stability, peace, and prosperity” in the Indo-Pacific.

An artist’s rendering of the SSN-AUKUS submarine. Photo: BAE Systems

Each SSN-AUKUS will be manufactured based on British design and American technology at the members’ respective domestic shipyards.

The trilateral partners announced the joint acquisition of submarines for the program in 2023. In March, BAE Systems secured a contract to produce submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.

Works Underway

This month, AUKUS leaders released a joint statement on milestones achieved towards the effort’s completion.

The documentation outlined the passing of additional bills to accelerate the program, recent industrial participation, an increase in the submarine construction workforce, and plans for associated military training on Guam. 

“All AUKUS nations have reaffirmed their commitment to take full advantage of the technological opportunities of AUKUS by combining national strengths to deepen collaboration and deliver game-changing capabilities at pace,” a statement from the Pentagon said.

“The AUKUS nations have bolstered efforts to break down barriers to collaboration, spur a more integrated defense industrial base and private sector partnership, and identify new opportunities for trilateral capability development.”

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