Electric Boat Shipyard prepares to support Australia’s nuclear submarine program

By Thomas Black (Bloomberg) The US, UK and Australia will each begin an 18-month review to identify how best to deliver nuclear submarine capabilities to the Australian Navy as part of a security partnership announced Sept. 15, according to US defense contractor General Dynamics $ GD.

The effort is in “its early stages” and plans are still being developed, Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat’s submarine unit, said in a message to employees Thursday.

“There is no specific action that we have been asked to take at this time,” said Graney. “As the only US shipbuilder focused exclusively on the design, construction and maintenance of nuclear-powered submarines, we stand ready to support this endeavor and have communicated this message to our Navy and government leaders. “

The security partnership would give Australia access to US submarine technology now only shared with the UK and which comes as China increases its military capability and influence in the Asia region -Peaceful. The alliance also encompasses shared technologies on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and other defense measures.

Australia, which plans to build the nuclear submarines in Adelaide, has broken a long-term contract with France for diesel-powered submarines, which are limited by battery power and duration. underwater navigation. Nuclear submarines only have to surface to supply the crews who operate them, making ships much more stealthy.

No decision

Still, no decision has yet been made on the partnership and the consultative process will be led by the U.S. departments of Defense, State and Energy, according to a Pentagon official familiar with the matter.

It is too early to say how Electric Boat will be impacted by the partnership, said Graney. The unit is currently building Virginia-class nuclear submarines at a rate of two per year, he said, and has begun construction of the new Columbia-class submarines, which will be equipped with ballistic missiles and replace the old Ohio class.

The ad “affirms the strategic importance of nuclear powered submarines,” Graney told his employees.

–With help from Tony Capaccio. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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