Royal Australian Navy Sailors graduate Submarine Officer Basic Course: next step, assignment to U.S. Virginia class submarines

22 April 2024

In a first for the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy, three Royal Australian Navy officers graduated from the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC) at the Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut. 

Lieutenant Commander James Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Adam Klyne and Lieutenant William Hall’s graduation from the SOBC follows their studies at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command and Nuclear Power Training Unit in South Carolina. 

​Over the last two months, the trio trained alongside US Navy sailors, learning the fundamentals of operating nuclear-powered submarines. The officers have now completed the U.S. Navy’s 15-month nuclear submarine training pipeline before assignment to the fleet.

The three Royal Australian Navy officer graduates will be assigned to US Virginia class submarines based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Upon assignment, the graduates serve as division officers, leading a team of highly trained US submariners. 

The number of Royal Australian Navy personnel training across the US will increase to over 100 in the next 12 months. 

Director-General Australian Submarine Agency, Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead AO, RAN commended the Royal Australian Navy Officers 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.” Vice Admiral Mead said. 

“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.”     

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AO, RAN also praised the dedication of the officers. 

​“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.”