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 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," said Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, Chief of Navy.
“This is an exciting step forward in developing our workforce skillsets so that the Royal Australian Navy is ready to support, maintain and operate Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarine capability."
The Navy personnel will spend up to five months on board USS Emory S. Land, integrating with US sailors and learning how the US conducts nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) maintenance.
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.
“The opportunity for our Navy personnel to learn from our AUKUS partners demonstrates meaningful progress along Australia’s pathway to acquiring nuclear-powered submarines," said Richard Marles, Deputy Prime Minister.
“The maintenance of a United States nuclear-powered submarine at HMAS Stirling in the second half of the year will be an important milestone in the development of skills within Australia’s submarine and industry workforces.”