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US Navy Submarine Visits Perth, Australia, As Allies Strengthen Their Defense Preparedness

In a noteworthy development for Australia’s naval prowess, the Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarine, USS North Carolina, has made its inaugural visit to the HMAS Stirling Naval Base on Garden Island, situated near Rockingham. This groundbreaking event follows the AUKUS announcement earlier this year, outlining Australia’s strategic approach to acquiring advanced nuclear-powered submarines.

The USS North Carolina’s arrival is pivotal in solidifying the alliance between the United States and Australia. With a crew of over 130 members, the vessel offers a unique opportunity for American submariners to extend a warm welcome to their Royal Australian Navy counterparts. This unprecedented exchange allows Australian submariners an up-close look at the submarine’s cutting-edge operations and advanced technology.

Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, underscored the significance of the USS North Carolina’s visit, emphasizing the unwavering commitment of the United States to its allies and partners. “Our collaboration remains vibrant and palpable in Australia daily, especially amplified through AUKUS. The arrival of the USS North Carolina further solidifies Australia’s enduring custom, extending a warm reception to U.S. sailors, propelling our mutual security objectives in the region, and showcasing the profound friendship and confidence that define our nations’ relationship.”

Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead, Director General of the Australian Submarine Agency, expressed optimism about the impact of heightened U.K. and U.S. port visits and the Submarine Rotational Force – West initiative. He outlined how these initiatives will systematically cultivate the abilities, insights, and proficiency required for the operation, maintenance, and responsible management of nuclear-powered submarines.

Drawing upon the seven-decade-spanning naval nuclear propulsion expertise of AUKUS collaborators, Australia is positioning itself to achieve full sovereignty over its submarine capabilities. This strategic move will see Australia taking control of its own Virginia-class submarines, a process set to commence in the early 2030s.

Rear Admiral Chris Cavanaugh of the U.S. Navy, the leader of Submarine Group 7, lauded the enduring legacy of global security collaboration among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He highlighted the seamless teamwork evident in undersea warfare training and operations, showcasing the strength of the partnership.

Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, Director of Submarines for the United Kingdom Royal Navy, stood alongside his Australian counterparts, emphasizing the substantial strides being made by the three nations in advancing Australia’s indigenous SSN (nuclear-powered attack submarine) capability. The Royal Navy’s commitment extends to facilitating training for Australian personnel in the safe operation of nuclear submarine technology.

Beyond the defence realm, U.S. submariners actively engage in community volunteering initiatives during their visit. This unique cultural exchange provides an opportunity for them to experience the local tourist attractions and hospitality offerings of Western Australia, fostering a more profound understanding between nations.

The USS North Carolina’s arrival comes from previous visits by U.S. Navy submarines, including the USS Asheville, USS Mississippi, USS Frank Cable, and USS Springfield. As Australia forges ahead with its aspirations for enhanced submarine capabilities, this historic visit underscores the significance of the AUKUS partnership and its profound impact on Australia’s future in naval defense.

Source : Marine Insight