The United States will deliver Virginia-class submarines to Australia starting in 2032 under the trilateral AUKUS security agreement, according to Vice Adm. Bill Houston, commander of Naval Submarine Forces.
Speaking to reporters at the Naval Submarine League on Tuesday, Houston revealed that Australia will receive at least three submarines throughout the 2030s.
Following the initial delivery fulfillment, the next handover will likely occur in 2035, Breaking Defense reported.
The first two in-service submarines will be followed by a new vessel that will be manufactured in the U.S., with a provisional release date of 2038.
According to Houston, the U.S.-built boat will be a Block VI version so it will not include the Virginia Payload Module, the mid-body section on certain Virginia-class submarines that increases their missile capacity.
While the AUKUS deal, which involves Australia, the U.S. and the United Kingdom, mandates that Washington provides Canberra with three subs, the deliveries could reach up to five, ABC reported.
Upon completion of the initial AUKUS transfer commitment, the British government will work with Australia to jointly build a new nuclear-powered SSN-AUKUS submarine fleet.
Even with the disclosed preliminary timeline for the AUKUS sales, Breaking Defense noted that the transactions will only move forward if the Australian government satisfies a key Defense Department requirement that the Australian Navy and the country’s industrial base are fully prepared to receive the the Virginia-class subs.