BAE Selected to Build AUKUS Pillar II Subs for Australia

On September 15th, 2021, the United Staes, Australia, and the United Kingdom announced that the trilateral security agreement, dubbed AUKUS would spell out the strategic shift to the Indo-pacific. AUKUS is divided into two pillars: Submarines and Technology (radar, hypersonics, computers, and cyber). Pillar I was the most controversial due to Australia abandoning, without notice, negotiations with French Naval Group over the construction of the Attack-class boats, valued at 50B Euro, to replace the aging Collins-class boats. The announcement and cessation of negotiations wrinkled Australia French relations to the point of Paris recalling its ambassador.

Australia agreed with the United States and the United Kingdom to buy three Virginia-class submarines as a stopgap for the aging Collins fleet while awaiting the construction of the nuclear-powered boats. The Australian Submarine Agency was established on July 1st, 2023, for the role of managing Australia’s nascent nuclear-powered boats and ASC Pty Ltd was assigned to be the domestic shipbuilding partner for the project. However, since Australia has domestic limitations on nuclear power and little experience in building the reactors and subs, a foreign partner from either the US or UK had to be selected to lead. Today, that partner has been announced to be the UK firm, BAE and Rolls Royce.

UK Defense Secretary, while in Australia made this announcement with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, and US Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy:

“In a more dangerous world, today’s announcement symbolises the huge confidence our close partner Australia has in our world-leading defence industry, including companies such as BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.Through these collaborations, British industry will grow, and thousands of jobs will be created across the country, delivering security and prosperity to our two nations.”

The CEO of BAE, Charles Woodburn followed up with his own announcement:

“We’re extremely proud of our role in the delivery of this vitally important, tri-nation submarine programme. Our selection as a partner in Australia, alongside ASC, recognises our role as the UK’s long-term submarine design and build partner and as a key player in Australia’s maritime enterprise and wider defence landscape. Drawing on decades of experience in the UK and Australia, we look forward to working with ASC to develop an enduring, sovereign nuclear-powered submarine building capability for Australia.

We’re already making good progress on the design and development of the next generation submarine in the UK where we have more than 1,000 people working on the SSN-AUKUS programme and major infrastructure investment underway.

This latest step will ensure an integral connection between the UK design and the build strategy development in Australia as we work together to deliver next generation military capability as well as considerable social and economic value to all three nations.”

And finally, the CEO of Rolls Royce, Stever Carlier announced:

“Last year we were proud to welcome the Hon Richard Marles MP, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps to our Raynesway site and showcase some of the world-class manufacturing and engineering capabilities we have developed over the last 60 years.

This commitment of funding to our existing expansion work shows the trust Australia places on our nuclear expertise and our ability to deliver. We look forward to working with the Australian Submarine Agency to support them in building their own fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.”

BAE and Rolls Royce will be building these boats in Barrow-in-Furness and Derby where they expect a maximum of 21,000 jobs, among that 7,000 high-tech jobs, a significant win for the historically sagging Western shipbuilding community.

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Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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