major boost to Western Australia’s maritime defence industry has been achieved with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the State Government and the world’s largest manufacturer of nuclear-powered submarines.

Huntington Ingalls Industries employs over 42,000 people worldwide, and is a builder of the US Virginia-class submarine, the model of nuclear-powered submarine Australia is expected to purchase in the next decade.

US Virginia-class submarines will begin rotational deployment at HMAS Stirling at Garden Island from 2027 – ahead of the Royal Australian Navy’s acquisition of nuclear submarines in the 2030s as part of the AUKUS partnership.

The MoU will greatly assist the State Government in the creation of high paying, skilled jobs at the AMC at Henderson, as well as at HMAS Stirling, for decades to come.

In March, the Australian Government announced an $8 billion expansion of HMAS Stirling in the next decade creating around 3,000 direct jobs.

This investment will ensure WA is able to complete longer and more complex repairs on visiting military vessels in the future.

The dual focused MoU targets the development of both industry and workforce development, ensuring businesses can deliver in the immediate and long terms.

This includes positioning WA as a hub for defence industry innovation and enterprise, as well as establishing the State as an ideal location for defence training and education.

Defence Industry Minister Paul Papalia said: “This is an exciting time for the WA maritime defence industry with the signing of a major MoU with Huntington Ingalls Industries. 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.”

Training Minister Simone McGurk, said: “Signing this Memorandum of Understanding with Huntington Ingalls Industries will significantly help the Cook Government’s efforts to expand training and job opportunities in Western Australia’s defence sector. Huntington Ingalls Industries is a renowned international company with a wealth of experience manufacturing nuclear-powered submarines. This experience will be vital as we train local workers to work on the Virginia-class submarines, which will soon be operating from WA.”


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  1. I suppose, even (for a variety of good reasons) the US refuses to sell/lease Virginias to Australia, this HII assisted repair facility construction will be a major earner for WA.

  2. You have to think this is what the USN wanted out of AUKUS all along. Increased SSN maintenance capacity (their backlog is desperate) in a safe location convenient to their strategic needs. I see no downside to learning SSN maintenance skills. They are in demand world wide.

    Though some day soon the Federal and SA governments are going to have to come clean with the Adelaide workforce that any Adelaide jobs (from SSN construction are a decade away. In the interim all they have is the increasingly vague Collins LOTE project which, even at full speed, will employ a fraction of the promised jobs from SSK or SSN construction. How building 3 SSNs sans reactor replaces building 12 large SSKs I cannot understand.


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