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Politicians get hands on with nuclear submarine tech

Australian Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Richard Marles MP operates the periscope of the United States Navy Submarine USS Asheville during a visit to HMAS Stirling, Western Australia. Photo: LSIS Ernesto Sanchez.

Australian politicians have toured the US Navy Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine USS Asheville when it docked in Perth earlier this year.

Australian politicians have toured the US Navy Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine USS Asheville when it docked in Perth earlier this year.

USS Asheville docked at HMAS Stirling Naval Base near Rockingham as part of combined training exercises with Royal Australian Navy submarine forces and regularly scheduled patrol in the Indo-Pacific region in March.

Tours were attended by Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy, Minister for Northern Australia and Resources Madeleine King, and Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh.

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Australian and diplomatic guests also included UK High Commissioner Vicki Treadell, UK Consul General Tina Redshaw, and Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling, as well as US Navy Rear Admiral Rick Seif, Commander, Submarine Group 7, US Consul General Perth Siriana Nair, and US Embassy Canberra Naval Attaché Captain Kevin Quarderer.

Guests were able to view above deck operations, experience diving operations, and fire drills, as well as interact with US Navy sailors during the submarine tour.

Royal Australian Navy Chief of the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead and Rear Admiral Matt Buckley also met US Navy leadership before touring the submarine.

Asheville commanding officer Commander Tom Dixon said the tour gave Australian and diplomatic guests a rare opportunity to see what life is like at sea onboard a nuclear-powered submarine.

Asheville’s visit to Western Australia demonstrates an investment in new operational capabilities, advanced technologies, and idea-sharing with some of our closest allies,” Commander Dixon said.

“My crew is committed to the sustainment of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

Submarine Group 7 Rear Admiral Seif also participated in a roundtable discussion with researchers and students at the University of Western Australia’s Defence and Security Institute and sailors were given shore leave to attend the surrounding areas of Rockingham, Fremantle, and Perth.

“I really enjoyed my time in Australia, particularly the restaurants in Perth and Fremantle,” said Lieutenant j.g. Michael Nix, operational safety officer onboard Asheville.

“It was amazing to work with multiple Royal Australian commands as one team to maintain freedom of the seas in the INDOPACOM AOR.”

The USS Asheville is one of four Los Angeles Class attack submarines located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam.

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