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Australia assesses submarine construction facilities following AUKUS decision

A view of the work that was started at Australia's submarine construction facility at Osborne North. The foreground is where the shipyard is planned to be located, and the existing buildings include the land-based test facility and the combat management system integration facility. ASC's Collins support facility can be seen on the left with the large Ship Assembly Hall in the new Osborne South yard in the distance. (ANI)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) is to start the process to assess whether the submarine construction facility it was preparing for the cancelled Attack-class submarine programme will be suitable for its new nuclear-powered boats.

A spokesperson from the DoD told Janes that the assessment will be undertaken by Australia's new ‘nuclear-powered submarine task force' alongside the Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI). The ANI is a government agency that is developing the construction facility at the Osborne North shipyard in Adelaide.

The assessment follows the announcement in September that Australia plans to procure at least eight nuclear-powered submarines through a new security partnership, known as AUKUS, with the United States and United Kingdom. The decision caused the termination of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) contract to procure 12 Attack-class submarines from Naval Group.

The DoD spokesperson said, “Australian Naval Infrastructure will continue to own, on behalf of the Commonwealth, the critical shipyard infrastructure and remain responsible for provision of critical infrastructure to [Australia's] shipbuilding programmes.”

“The task force will work with Australian Naval Infrastructure to determine the submarine construction yard requirements for Australia's nuclear-powered submarines, including the impact of this decision on the works at Osborne North,” the DoD spokesperson added.

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