US Trains Australian Navy on Submarines

14 June 2024

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U.S. Navy photo by Lauren Laughlin
Naval Submarine School

The U.S. Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut, welcomed its first cadre of nine enlisted sailors and the second cadre of three officers from the Royal Australian Navy on June 3rd and 10th respectively. These 12 Australians will train alongside their American counterparts to operate conventionally armed, nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs).

The enrollment of Royal Australian Navy sailors at the Submarine School marks a significant step in the AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, United States) Pillar 1 Optimal Pathway, aimed at helping Australia acquire a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

The number of Royal Australian Navy personnel training across the U.S. will increase to over 100 people in the next 12 months. Training Royal Australian Navy sailors alongside their American counterparts will enhance interoperability across the submarine forces, which is a cornerstone of establishing Australia's sovereign nuclear-powered attack submarine capability.

The Submarine School trains officers and enlisted personnel through two distinct but interrelated tracks: Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC) and Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS).

SOBC is the last step in the U.S. Navy’s submarine officer training pipeline, graduating over a thousand officers annually. BESS introduces enlisted sailors to the fundamentals of the construction and operation of today’s nuclear-powered submarines. The course covers everything from shipboard organization to submarine safety and escape procedures. Following BESS, enlisted sailors will complete their pipeline training with classroom and skills training specific to their intended technical rating.

Upon graduation from pipeline schools, the Royal Australian Navy officers and sailors will be assigned to U.S. SSNs for their first sea tour to further their knowledge and training.

“Three Australian officers have already completed 14 months of intensive shore-based training, including Nuclear-Power School, nuclear propulsion training, and the Submarine Officer Basic Course before being assigned to U.S. Virginia class submarines. Our people are receiving world class training through our U.S and U.K partners and will play a crucial role for Australia’s future SSN capability.”


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