Huntington Ingalls, Babcock Form Joint Venture to Support AUKUS Submarine Program

H&B Defence will back Australia's AUKUS Pillar 1 for sovereign nuclear submarines, handling workforce, infrastructure, defueling, waste, and sustainment
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  • 11:51 AM, June 18, 2024
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Huntington Ingalls, Babcock Form Joint Venture to Support AUKUS Submarine Program
AUKUS SSN illustration

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) and Babcock have announced the formation of a new joint venture, H&B Defence, aimed at accelerating the development of sovereign capabilities for the AUKUS conventional armed, nuclear-powered submarine program.

HII is known for designing, building, and maintaining the U.S. Virginia-class submarines, while Babcock is responsible for sustaining the UK's nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

H&B Defence will support all aspects of Australia's pathway to achieving sovereign nuclear-powered submarines under AUKUS Pillar 1. This includes workforce development, nuclear infrastructure design and construction, submarine defueling and decommissioning, nuclear waste management, and future sustainment efforts. The new entity, headquartered in Canberra, Australia, will collaborate with government bodies, industry stakeholders, and academic institutions to develop a skilled sovereign nuclear workforce in Australia.

"This joint venture will focus on equipping Australia with the requisite industrial base, supply chains, and workforce required to support and manage all aspects of the nuclear-powered submarine lifecycle," said Tim Brown, the first Managing Director of H&B Defence.

As part of the AUKUS optimal pathway, U.S. and U.K. submarines will commence regular visits to Perth's submarine base starting in 2027, necessitating maintenance operations there. In the early 2030s, Australia is projected to acquire at least three second-hand Virginia-class submarines. By the early 2040s, the first British-designed, Australian-built submarines are scheduled for delivery. These submarines will be constructed in Adelaide by the government shipbuilder ASC in collaboration with British defense contractor BAE Systems.

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