Australia's nuclear-powered submarines


Virginia Class fact sheet (PDF 430.72 KB) SSN-AUKUS fact sheet (PDF 1.37 MB)

Virginia Class submarines

The United States intends to sell Australia 3 Virginia Class SSNs (nuclear-powered submarines) from as soon as the early 2030s, which was authorised by the US Congress in December 2023. Australia retains the option to seek approval for up to 2 more if needed.

The SSN Virginia Class will provide Australia a nuclear-powered submarine capability as early as possible.

This acquisition will eliminate any capability gap and increase the 3 nations (Australia, UK and US) ability to deter aggression and contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.


Australia's nuclear-powered submarines - SSN-AUKUS - will be based on the UK's next generation design that incorporates technology from all 3 nations, including cutting edge US submarine technologies.

The combination of technology from all 3 partners will deliver a world-class submarine that meets Australia's long-term defence needs while bolstering trilateral industrial cooperation.

SSN-AUKUS will incorporate US technology, such as propulsion plant systems and components, a common vertical launch system and weapons. The AUKUS partners will also develop a joint combat system as an expansion of the US-Australia combat system.

The UK will commence construction of its first SSN-AUKUS in Barrow-in-Furness UK, as early as the late 2020s. The UK intends to deliver its first SSN-AUKUS to the UK Royal Navy in the late 2030s.

Australia will begin building its first SSN-AUKUS in Adelaide South Australia, by the end of this decade. Australia plans to deliver the first Australian-built SSN-AUKUS to the Royal Australian Navy in the early 2040s.

Australia will begin enabling works this year at the future submarine construction yard in Osborne South Australia.

As a trilateral endeavour, SSN-AUKUS provides maximum interoperability among AUKUS partners. It will elevate all 3 nations' industrial capacity to produce and sustain advanced and interoperable SSNs for decades to come.

SSN-AUKUS will be operated by both the UK and Australian Navies, and will be equipped for intelligence, surveillance, under-sea warfare and strike missions.

SSN-AUKUS will be a state-of-the-art platform designed to leverage the best submarine technology of all 3 AUKUS partners. It will enhance the ability of our 3 nations to deter aggression and contribute to stability in the Indo-Pacific and globally.