HII and Babcock to accelerate Australia’s nuclear submarines

HII and Babcock to accelerate Australia’s nuclear submarines

HII and Babcock have announced the formation of H&B Defence, a new joint venture aimed at fast tracking Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine capabilities under the AUKUS security partnership. This collaboration marks a significant step in Australia’s journey towards operating a fleet of advanced nuclear submarines.

Leveraging Tri-Nation Expertise

H&B Defence will draw on expertise from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to support various aspects of Australia’s nuclear submarine pathway. The joint venture will focus on critical areas including:

  • Workforce development
  • Nuclear infrastructure design and construction
  • Submarine defueling and decommissioning
  • Nuclear waste management
  • Future sustainment

Building Australia’s Sovereign Nuclear Capability

Headquartered in Canberra, H&B Defence will work closely with government, industry, and academic stakeholders to develop a skilled sovereign nuclear workforce in Australia. This initiative aims to establish the necessary industrial base and supply chains to support all aspects of nuclear-powered submarine operations.

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Leadership and Vision

Tim Brown AM, a Royal Australian Navy veteran with extensive submarine experience, has been appointed Managing Director of H&B Defence. Brown emphasized the company’s mission to transform Australia’s submarine industrial landscape, positioning the nation to operate nuclear submarines effectively.

The company board will be chaired by Michael Lempke, HII’s President of Nuclear and Environmental Services, with Babcock Australasia CEO Andrew Cridland also serving as a board member. Both executives expressed enthusiasm for the partnership and its potential to support AUKUS Pillar 1 objectives.

Virginia Class and SSN-AUKUS Submarines

H&B Defence’s primary goal is to ensure Australia is fully prepared to operate and maintain Virginia Class nuclear-powered submarines and the future SSN-AUKUS vessels. This includes developing the necessary infrastructure, workforce, and support systems.

The formation of H&B Defence represents a significant milestone in the implementation of the AUKUS agreement. By accelerating Australia’s nuclear submarine capabilities, this joint venture could play a crucial role in reshaping the strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific region.

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