Australia is investing early in American shipyards so that delivery of Virginia-class nuclear submarines to the Royal Australian Navy can be fast-tracked to the early 2030s, the service’s Vice Adm. Jonathan Mead said during an Australian Strategic Policy Institute conference in Canberra on Friday.
Appointed in July as the inaugural director-general of the Australian Submarine Agency, Mead told Defense News that Australia plans to invest $3 billion over the next five years to help the U.S. shipbuilders that will manufacture, retrofit and maintain the nuclear submarines.
In May, three legislative proposals were submitted to the U.S. Congress to authorize supplying Australia with nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS trilateral agreement with the United Kingdom.
Mead did not disclose additional details about the American shipyard investments, but Defense News noted that most of the Australian funding will not start for at least two years.
The country also needs to spend on the expansion and transformation of the Australian Navy’s infrastructure that will handle the nuclear submarines, the report added.