• USS Hawaii (SSN 776) conducted a scheduled port visit to HMAS Stirling in 2014. (Defence)
    USS Hawaii (SSN 776) conducted a scheduled port visit to HMAS Stirling in 2014. (Defence)

The US State Department has approved the sale of "AUKUS-related Training and Training Devices and related equipment" to Australia for an estimated cost of up to US$2 billion.

The decision does not appear to have been publicised by the Australian government. Under the more transparent US system, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency must notify Congress of such sales.

According to the US State Department release, Australia has requested to buy articles and services in support of the Trilateral AUKUS Pillar I program: "Included are training devices, personnel training, planning, and Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE) services; support equipment; special tools; training software and courseware; design; supply chain and industrial base support; facilities and construction support; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; test and trials support; studies and surveys; other related elements of engineering and repair services for associated equipment and program support; and other related elements of logistic and program support."

The announcement also flags that the US will train private Australian industry personnel after this is "explicitly authorised" by the US State Department.

The announcement does not specify the training or the training devices, though the package will support US nuclear submarine deployments to Australia; provide submarine training equipment to the RAN; and allow Australian industry personnel to train at US shipyards.

"Specifically, the proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by enabling an effective capacity to protect maritime interests and infrastructure in support of its strategic mission," the announcement states.

"The sale will advance the AUKUS trilateral agreement by providing the equipment to train Royal Australian Navy crews in areas such as submarine navigation, communications, ship control, and other capabilities.

"Additionally, it will also provide the means to train select Australian civilians and contractors at United States Naval Shipyards.

"This trained workforce will grow Australia’s submarine capability, which is expected to ultimately incorporate technologies from all three AUKUS partner nations. Australia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and services into its armed forces."

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