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First Australian Navy Team to Train in US on AUKUS Submarine Ops

The Royal Australian Navy has sent its first batch of sailors to an AUKUS nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) training in Groton, Connecticut.

The effort is part of trilateral naval cooperation between the Australian, British, and US governments to employ a new underwater fleet that will bolster security in the Indo-Pacific region “for decades.”

Nine enlisted personnel and three officers from the Australian Defence Force will practice their skills alongside their US Navy counterparts.

Although lessons vary depending on the participant’s role, the training will cover interrelated tracks to maintain unified operability, including in the Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) and Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC).

The BESS introduces students to the fundamentals of the construction and operation of modern nuclear submarines, while the SOBS is the US Navy’s final step in graduating officers.

Experts from the Groton-based US Naval Submarine School will facilitate sessions.

Field Practice Next

Upon completing their training at the pipeline schools, the Royal Australian Navy team will be assigned to US-commissioned SSNs for an initial sea tour and additional lessons.

“The Royal Australian Navy officers and sailors commencing their training at the US Naval Submarine School represent the leading edge of Australia’s future submarine fleet,” Royal Australian Navy Chief Vice Admr. Mark Hammond stated.

“Three Australian officers have already completed 14 months of intensive shore-based training, including Nuclear-Power School, nuclear propulsion training, and the Submarine Officer Basic Course before being assigned to US Virginia class submarines.”

“Our people are receiving world class training through our US and UK partners, and will play a crucial role for Australia’s future SSN capability. I’m incredibly proud of their achievements representing the Royal Australian Navy.”

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

Over 100 Australian Trainees Expected

According to the US Navy, Canberra’s AUKUS submarine trainees will increase to more than 100 soldiers the following year.

“Australians are exceptional submariners,” US Navy AUKUS Integration and Acquisition Program Manager Rear Admr. Lincoln Reifsteck remarked.

“The training they receive at Submarine School will set them up for a successful tour aboard an American SSN, moving the Royal Australian Navy that much closer to operating sovereign, conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.”

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