WA will team up with the world’s largest nuclear submarine manufacturer to support industry and workforce development, as it prepares for nuclear presence in Rockingham from 2027.
Western Australia will team up with the world’s largest nuclear submarine manufacturer to support industry and workforce development, as it prepares for nuclear presence in Rockingham from 2027.
US-based Huntington Ingalls Industries builds the Virginia-class submarines which will begin rotational deployment at HMAS Stirling on Garden Island from 2027 under the trilateral AUKUS agreement between Australia, the US and the United Kingdom.
Under an agreement revealed today, HII will assist the state in the development of an industry and workforce capable of delivering in the immediate and longer-term requirements of the submarine deal.
It will aim to position WA as a hub for defence innovation and enterprise and establish the state as a location for defence training and education.
The Royal Australian Navy will acquire nuclear submarines of its own in the 2030s under the AUKUS partnership.
“This is an exciting time for the WA maritime defence industry with the signing of a major MoU with Huntington Ingalls Industries,” defence industry minister Paul Papalia said.
“Not only will it expand our skill base in the defence workforce, but it signals to the international community that WA is becoming a major player in the submarine industry.
“It will also build on the relationship between WA and the much larger defence industry in the US ready to assist with the AUKUS partnership.”
The MoU announcement comes as $87.6 million worth of improvements at the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson near completion, allowing defence works to continue at the shipyard.
HMAS Stirling is also in line for work, with a federal government $8 billion expansion of the facility over the next decade expected to create around 3,000 jobs.
A collaborative partnership between UK company Babcock and HII was struck in September to support Australia’s nuclear submarine capability on a federal level.
Education and training has been a priority for the state in its role preparing Rockingham for the nuclear submarine rollout from 2027, according to Mr Papalia in conversation with Business News earlier this year.
In September, the federal government revealed universities could apply for a share of 4,000 Commonwealth-supported university places to attract students into STEM.
While 800 of the places were allocated specific to South Australian universities, no set number was assigned for Western Australia.
Earlier this week HII and Babcock announced partnership with the University of Adelaide, Curtin University and the University of New South Wales in an alliance “committed to preparing a skilled workforce in support of all steps of Australia’s optimal pathway to sovereign nuclear-powered submarines”.
Training minister Simone McGurk said today’s MoU would help the government’s efforts to expand training and job opportunities in WA’s defence sector.
“Huntington Ingalls Industries is a renowned international company with a wealth of experience manufacturing nuclear-powered submarines,” she said.
“This experience will be vital as we train local workers to work on the Virginia-class submarines, which will soon be operating from WA.”