UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace have announced that Royal Australian Navy submariners will train aboard the UK’s newest Astute-class nuclear submarine HMS Anson.
CAPTION: A scene from the Commissioning Ceremony for HMS Anson – the fifth of seven new Astute-class subs for the Royal Navy – on 31 August 2022. UK MoD photo by Corporal Tim Hammond.
The announcement was made during a visit to England by Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles who also attended the commissioning of HMS Anson at BAE Systems, Barrow, this week.
Royal Australian Navy personnel have already commenced specialised nuclear training courses in the UK and USA – with more will follow next year – before going to sea.
Deputy Prime Minister Marles said that having Royal Australian Navy submariners train alongside Royal Navy crews was an important step under the AUKUS partnership.
“Australia is eager to learn from our counterparts, and who better to learn from than our friends in the United Kingdom,” Mr Marles said.
“Our countries are working hand-in-glove on training and building the skills required for our future submarines – an important part of bolstering our Defence Force.
“Today‘s announcement of Australian submariners training aboard HMS Anson says everything about our future plans of building the AUKUS partnership.”
Prime Minister Johnson said deploying Australian submariners alongside British crews epitomised the strength of the AUKUS partnership.
HMS Anson is a 7800-tonne, 97m-long, nuclear-powered submarine with a 98-person crew and cost £1.3billion (AU$2.2billion) to build.
She will be armed with Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and Block V Tomahawk land-attack missiles, giving her a target-engagement range of up to 1600km.
While in the UK, Mr Marles also visited Govan shipyard, where the UK’s Type 26 frigate is being built.
“We have Australian workers – engineers, mechanics and the like – who are learning from their UK counterparts to deliver the high-tech skills required to deliver for our frigate program back home in Osborne, South Australia,” he said.
“The technology, capability and lethality on show is truly impressive and Australia looks forward to progressing our talks through the AUKUS partnership.”