Nuclear Powered Submarines for Australia
The announcement on 16 September 2021 that Australia will acquire nuclear powered submarines is very significant.
- Australia was among the first countries to acquire and employ conventional submarines in its defence. Australia’s Navy acquired E class submarines which were the most advanced submarines of their era.
- On Tuesday 14 September we remembered the loss with all hands of our submarine HMAS AE1 in New Britain in 1914. The crew were Australia’s first casualties in WW1
- On 25 April 1915, the submarine HMAS AE2 was the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles paving the way for the first submarine campaign in history,
- In WW2, United States, British and Netherlands submarines played a key role in the defence of Australia from 1942 to 1945, and Fremantle was the second largest submarine base in the World at that time.
- In the cold war, Australia Oberon Submarines played an important role.
- With Swedish and US support Australia built the Collins Class submarines, which will take us into the near future.
- All these submarines were conventionally powered – a combination of diesel engines, electrical generators, a lead acid battery, and electrical motors.
- Australia’s geography demands that its submarines (and other maritime forces) operate for extended periods at very long range from their bases.
- Nuclear powered submarines enjoy freedom of movement not available to diesel electric submarines.
- The transition from diesel electric to nuclear propulsion is a very significant undertaking for our nation and our Submarine Force. The Australian National Submarine Museum looks forward to assisting the Australian community understand better this significant new direction.
For further information visit the website of the Nuclear Submarine Task Force https://www1.defence.gov.au/about/taskforces/nuclear-powered-submarine-task-force