Former UK Royal Navy Vice Admiral Sir Nick Hine has been appointed to lead an AUKUS and international division for Babcock as rumours swirl around the long-debated international agreement.
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Sir Nick will take up the reigns as the first managing director for the newly established division of the British aerospace, defence, and nuclear engineering services company, at a critical stage in the trilateral security treaty.
There’s already significant unconfirmed speculation that an AUKUS announcement will be made by US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in San Diego on 13 March.
It’s envisioned Sir Nick’s role will be to deliver key capabilities using government and industry facing knowledge from his previous experience as the Second Sea Lord of the Royal Navy.
“AUKUS is the defining security partnership of our time, and I am honoured, and excited, to be playing a key role in ensuring that Babcock is well positioned to support the Australian Defence Force, and in doing so, further strengthening the alliance between our great nations,” Sir Nick Hine said.
“Babcock has a longstanding and proud heritage in nuclear safety and stewardship, supporting the Royal Navy submarine enterprise for more than 50 years.
“AUKUS also unlocks many more opportunities in areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomy, hypersonics, electronic warfare, and cyber systems which are vital to changing the way we conduct warfare.”
The division will be split between Australia and the UK to coordinate and promote company capabilities and manage strategic dialogue with the Australian, the US, and the UK governments.
Sir Nick Hine has already visited Australian Babcock sites earlier this month and is confident the organisation is well positioned to provide the basis to deliver AUKUS capabilities.
“There is a genuine excitement among our people about AUKUS and those projects that we are uniquely positioned to deliver,” he said.
“Our people are engaged, passionate, and motivated to play a leading role in keeping the region safe.”
Babcock Australasia chief executive officer David Ruff said the appointment of Sir Nick, who was awarded the Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 2023 New Year Honours, highlighted Babcock’s increasing focus in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
“The appointment of one of the UK’s most highly recognised strategic military minds to this position, who himself is a former submariner who served on a number of diesel and nuclear submarines, is another step forward in the growth of our company in Australasia,” Mr Ruff said.
“There is so much work to do in safety, infrastructure, and the regulatory environment before we have a nuclear-powered submarine and Babcock is well placed to support the federal government to deliver this capability.”
The company operates the UK’s only licensed facility for refitting, refuelling, and defuelling nuclear submarines, and manages HMNB Clyde and HMNB Devonport naval bases which undertake 100 per cent of the deep maintenance, in-service support, and through life management of the UK fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.