Meet Lieutenant Commander Heydon

18 August 2023

Lieutenant Commander Heydon is one of the first Australians to graduate Nuclear Power School in the United States, where he will become one of the first Australians to operate a nuclear reactor on a conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarine.

Lieutenant Commander Heydon studied a Bachelor of Engineering in Naval Architecture at UNSW and has worked as an engineer in the Australian Public Service, Royal Australian Navy and with Industry. He joined Navy as a Marine Engineering Officer – Submariner through the direct entry pathway and has served on multiple ships and submarines.

’Submarines are extremely complex and every day I’m challenged by something new’, Lieutenant Commander Heydon said.

‘They operate in a foreign environment where the basic human requirements for life (like the air we breathe) are carefully monitored and controlled on board. The introduction of naval nuclear-powered propulsion demands even more rigour and technical application and I’m incredibly excited for the opportunities it will bring to those studying – our future leaders, scientists, technicians and engineers.’

Despite his impressive career so far, Lieutenant Commander Heydon still has a lot left to learn about the new conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines Australia will be acquiring from the United States Navy through AUKUS Pillar 1.

For anyone considering a career in STEM, Lieutenant Commander Heydon has this advice: ‘think curiously and be flexible. Ask questions to understand the 'how' and 'why'. Be flexible in your thinking when challenged with different viewpoints and be open to new careers and opportunities.’

‘Lots of new technologies and careers will be available through AUKUS over the coming years and there are many jobs and pathways that don't exist yet here in Australia! It's an incredible time to be starting or thinking about a career in a STEM field,’ Lieutenant Commander Heydon said.