Royal Australian Navy sailors travel to Guam to embed with United States Navy

8 February 2024

A group of 37 Royal Australian Navy officers and sailors have departed for Guam to embed on board USS Emory S. Land, the United States submarine tender.

In December last year, Australia, the United States and United Kingdom announced that Australian sailors would commence duty in Guam from early 2024. This is part of preparations for the commencement of Submarine Rotational-Force West where, from as early as 2027, one UK Astute-class submarine and up to four US Virginia-class submarines will have a rotational presence at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia. 

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said this was a significant step for Australia’s acquisition of conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines.

“The opportunity for our Navy personnel to learn from our AUKUS partners demonstrates meaningful progress along Australia’s pathway to acquiring nuclear-powered submarines,” Mr Marles said.

The Navy personnel will spend up to five months on board USS Emory S. Land integrating with US sailors and building the unique knowledge, skills and experience in how the US conducts nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) maintenance. 

This valuable workforce training opportunity is an important milestone in developing the workforce needed to support Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarine capability. 

It will also enable the Royal Australian Navy to support the first planned maintenance activity of a US SSN during a visit to HMAS Stirling in the second half of this year.

“The maintenance of a US SSN at HMAS Stirling in the second half of the year will be an important milestone in the development of skills within Australia’s submarine and industry workforces,” Mr Marles said.

This training and development of Royal Australian Navy personnel builds on a program of work already underway for Australian Defence Force personnel and civilians to gain valuable education and experience in US and United Kingdom shipyards and facilities. 

Australia remains committed to upholding the highest non-proliferation standard in its acquisition of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.