Land Forces 24 728x90 WEB 240202 01Three Royal Australian Navy officers will be assigned to US Virginia class submarines based at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii after graduating from their submarine training in Groton, Connecticut.

Lieutenant Commander James Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Adam Klyne and Lieutenant William Hall are the first Royal Australian Navy officers to graduate from the Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC), following their studies at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command and Nuclear Power Training Unit in South Carolina. The officers have now completed the US Navy’s 15-month nuclear submarine training pipeline with the SOBC being the last step. Over the last two months, the trio trained alongside US Navy sailors, learning the fundamentals of operating nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs).

Lieutenant Commander Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Klyne and Lieutenant Hall will now serve as division officers on Virginia class submarines, leading a team of highly trained US submariners.

At Groton, the Royal Australian Navy officers experienced the same training as US Navy officers entering the submarine force. Their training at the SOBC involved the hands-on experience needed to safely operate Australia’s future conventionally-armed SSNs. The number of Royal Australian Navy personnel training across the US will increase to over 100 in the next 12 months.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond said: “I could not be more proud of Lieutenant Commander Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Klyne, and Lieutenant Hall. Their commitment and dedication over the past 15 months has paid off, and they are now well-equipped to put their training into action aboard Virginia class submarines. They have set a high bar for Navy officers who will follow in their footsteps, and demonstrated that Australia’s future fleet of conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines will be in safe hands.”

Director-General Australian Submarine Agency, Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead said: “The Royal Australian Navy’s greatest strength is its people and I commend Lieutenant Commander Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Klyne and Lieutenant Hall on their achievements. The AUKUS program for Australia to acquire conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines will succeed because of our team of hard-working, driven people like these three Officers, working alongside thousands of other Australians from welders and engineers to electricians and scientists. Already we have made remarkable progress as we build a new high-tech industry and I strongly encourage young Australians to consider a submarine career and being part of this exciting opportunity to design, build, sustain and crew nuclear-powered submarines.”


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  1. Just out of curiosity – maybe I missed that in the articles I have been reading on the RAN Officers undergoing submarine training in the US prior to joining a Virginia Class boat – but are these officers already qualified submariners?

    They have done a great job so far for sure. Hopefully the first of many. Is there a similar program happening in the UK?

  2. There was/is a former UK RN SSN and SSBN officer who permanently transferred to the RAN where he became a Collins class submarine Commander. His bio details about his SSN and SSBN service WERE on the RAN’s website until about 2021.

    The RAN has erased (404’d) his bio details and those of other Collins class commanders – as part of the RAN’s new “transparency” drive – so I won’t name him or them.

    Other nuclear sub trained UK RN and USN officers are occasionally seconded to the RAN for 2-3 year stints.

    There used to be 100+ senior RAN officers (with 15 line bio details) at but “transparency” has reduced them to the 6 most senior.

    • Thanks for all of that additional detail. The level of secrecy is now completely irrational and probably counterproductive. The ADF is doing its best to appear as unattractive as possible to younger people.


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