defence connect logo



South Australian agreement connects local suppliers with US submarine supply chain

Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas MP in Adelaide, South Australia. LACW Annika Smit

The South Australian government has announced a critical supply agreement connecting local suppliers with the US nuclear-powered conventionally armed submarine supply chain.

The South Australian government has announced a critical supply agreement connecting local suppliers with the US nuclear-powered conventionally armed submarine supply chain.

Premier Peter Malinauskas announced the new program with America’s largest shipbuilder HII while touring HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division in Virginia in the United States, where the defence giant builds Virginia Class submarines.

The agreement connects the South Australian government to HII’s Supplier Capability Uplift Program, enabling selected South Australian suppliers to participate in the nuclear-powered conventionally armed submarine supply chain.


“I want to ensure South Australian suppliers have a head start in competing to enter the global supply chain for nuclear-powered submarines,” Malinauskas said.

“Nuclear-powered submarines are the most complex machines in the world and building these submarines requires highly technical skills and capabilities.

“HII is America’s largest shipbuilder and they are at the global forefront of this technology.

“Through this program, we are making a highly strategic investment that will help to open avenues and opportunities for South Australian suppliers to compete for work on the Virginia Class Submarine Program, and ultimately the AUKUS program.

“AUKUS represents a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity for our state, but only if we seize it.

“By doing the hard work now, we can ensure South Australia is well placed to lift our economic complexity for decades to come.”

Given the highly specialised and technical nature of the work to build Virginia Class submarines, participating companies will be evaluated by HII using the same requirements applied to its existing US suppliers.

HII will undertake reviews of South Australian companies that provide design and engineering, equipment integration, advanced manufacturing, welding, fabrication, and quality services.

On completion of the review process, participating companies will receive a tailored report outlining recommendations for capability development and improvement activities required to compete for work on the Virginia Class Submarine Program.

Participating South Australian businesses will be able to apply for matched funding to address the recommendations arising from their review report.

“It was an honour to see Premier Malinauskas again, this time in the United States, and demonstrate HII’s long history of workforce development expertise,” Michael Lempke, lead of HII’s Australian business, said.

“We look forward to continuing our commitment to help address critical skills needs, education and training programs, and supply chain capability in Australia as they create the infrastructure necessary for building and sustaining nuclear-powered submarines.”

Information gathered through the program will further support the SA government’s industry development activities which aim to enable more South Australian companies to compete for work in international supply chains. This means they could potentially enter the supply chain for the Virginia Class.

Ultimately, it is the goal of the program to have these South Australian companies positioned to enter the supply chain for the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines to be built at Osborne in Adelaide.

“The Australian government welcomes this South Australian initiative investing in Australia’s defence industry, which complements national ASA-led initiatives to uplift the submarine industrial workforce and to support Australian industries’ access to the trilateral supply chain,” said Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead, Director-General of the Australian Submarine Agency.

“Australian state and federal governments, working together with industry, are expanding Australia’s industrial capacity to produce and sustain nuclear-powered submarines into the future, which will also contribute to building our collective resilience.”

The South Australian government previously signed a memorandum of understanding with HII Nuclear Australia in November last year.

Under the MOU, both parties shared intents to embark on a cooperative working arrangement – leveraging HII’s international industry expertise to prepare South Australia for the major shipbuilding projects on our horizon.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!