First Royal Australian Navy Officers assigned to US Virginia class submarines

Department of Defence

Three Royal Australian Navy officers will be assigned to US Virginia class submarines based at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii after graduating from their submarine training in Groton, Connecticut.

​Lieutenant Commander James Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Adam Klyne and Lieutenant William Hall are the first Royal Australian Navy officers to graduate from the Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC), following their studies at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command and Nuclear Power Training Unit in South Carolina.

​The officers have now completed the US Navy’s 15-month nuclear submarine training pipeline with the SOBC being the last step.

​Over the last two months, the trio trained alongside US Navy sailors, learning the fundamentals of operating nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs).

​Lieutenant Commander Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Klyne and Lieutenant Hall will now serve as division officers on Virginia class submarines, leading a team of highly trained US submariners.

At Groton, the Royal Australian Navy officers experienced the same training as US Navy officers entering the submarine force. Their training at the SOBC involved the hands-on experience needed to safely operate Australia’s future conventionally-armed SSNs.

​The number of Royal Australian Navy personnel training across the US will increase to over 100 in the next 12 months.

Quotes attributable to Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AO, RAN:

​”I could not be more proud of Lieutenant Commander Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Klyne, and Lieutenant Hall.

​”Their commitment and dedication over the past 15 months has paid off, and they are now well-equipped to put their training into action aboard Virginia class submarines.

​”They have set a high bar for Navy officers who will follow in their footsteps, and demonstrated that Australia’s future fleet of conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines will be in safe hands.”

Quotes attributable to Director-General Australian Submarine Agency, Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead AO, RAN:

​”The Royal Australian Navy’s greatest strength is its people and I commend Lieutenant Commander Heydon, Lieutenant Commander Klyne and Lieutenant Hall on their achievements.

​”The AUKUS program for Australia to acquire conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines will succeed because of our team of hard-working, driven people like these three Officers, working alongside thousands of other Australians from welders and engineers to electricians and scientists.

​”Already we have made remarkable progress as we build a new high-tech industry and I strongly encourage young Australians to consider a submarine career and being part of this exciting opportunity to design, build, sustain and crew nuclear-powered submarines.”

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