A group of 37 Royal Australian Navy officers and sailors have departed for Guam to embed on board USS Emory S. Land, the United States submarine tender.
In December last year, Australia, the United States and United Kingdom announced that Australian sailors would commence duty in Guam from early 2024 as part of preparations for the commencement of Submarine Rotational-Force West where, from as early as 2027, one UK Astute-class submarine and up to four US Virginia-class submarines will have a rotational presence at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.
The Navy personnel will spend up to five months on board USS Emory S. Land integrating with US sailors and building the unique knowledge, skills and experience in how the US conducts nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) maintenance.
Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AO, Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, said that “the skills, knowledge and experience gained in Guam alongside our United States Navy partners will afford our people the opportunity to undertake some of the most complex maintenance on a United States SSN.”
This valuable workforce training opportunity is an important milestone in developing the workforce needed to support Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarine capability.
It will also enable the Royal Australian Navy to support the first planned maintenance activity of a US SSN during a visit to HMAS Stirling in the second half of this year.
Richard Marles, Australia’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, added that the deployment to Guam will be “an important milestone in the development of skills within Australia’s submarine and industry workforces.”
This training and development of Royal Australian Navy personnel builds on a program of work already underway for Australian Defence Force personnel and civilians to gain valuable education and experience in US and UK shipyards and facilities.
Australia remains committed to upholding the highest non-proliferation standard in its acquisition of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.
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