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AUKUS deal good news for naval defence SMEs


The AUKUS pact between the US, Australia and the UK has been unveiled, with Australia being the only country other than the UK to have access to the pressurised water reactors used in the US-designed nuclear propulsion systems for submarines. This upgraded Australian fleet of nuclear-powered submarines is an attempt to work as an ally to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region. The pact also covers advanced cyber security, hypersonic and counter-hypersonic missiles, electronic warfare and AI.

The technology used within this new fleet of allied submarines will use cutting-edge technology, including UK-manufactured Rolls-Royce reactors. The upgraded naval fleet will cost Australia £201bn over a thirty year period, but will allow the Australian navy to travel further and faster than ever before, including the facility to carry out long-range strikes.

The investment by the three nations will not only improve security, but will create thousands of jobs. In the UK, some of the construction will take place in Derby and Barrow-in Furness, having a significant impact on employment in those regions.

Australia will purchase Virginia-class submarines in the short-term, whilst the new fleet is developed. Once this initial fleet is in place – intended to be by the early 2030’s – the plan is for a new nuclear-powered sub to be designed for use by the UK and Australian navies, to be built in the UK but using technologies from all three nations. This will be called SSN-AUKUS.

This pact is great news for the UK naval defence supply chain including SMEs like Eadon Consulting who bring specialist knowledge and capabilities to the development and supply of not only the equipment itself, but also of that used to prototype, test and manufacture the final product.

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