Australian Sailors to Embed on U.S. Navy Submarine Tender in Guam

February 5, 2024 6:00 PM
The submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS-39) sits anchored at Ulithi Atoll, Dec. 7, 2019. US Navy Photo

A team of 37 Royal Australian Navy sailors are heading to Guam to learn how to maintain nuclear submarines, according to a Monday statement from the service.

The officers and enlisted sailors will embed aboard USS Emory S. Land (AS-39), the U.S. Navy’s mobile submarine maintenance platform located in Guam.

“The Navy personnel will spend up to five months on board Emory S. Land integrating with U.S. sailors and building the unique knowledge, skills and experience in how the U.S. conducts nuclear-powered submarine maintenance,” reads a Sunday statement from the RAN.
“It will also enable the Royal Australian Navy to support the first planned maintenance activity of a US SSN during a visit to HMAS Stirling in the second half of this year.”

The embedded maintenance team aboard Emory S. Land will inform the RAN effort to support U.S. deployments to Western Australia for boats that will be crewed by U.S. and Australian sailors.

“The skills, knowledge and experience gained in Guam alongside our United States Navy partners will afford our people the opportunity to undertake some of the most complex maintenance on a United States SSN,” RAN chief Vice Adm. Mark Hammond said in a statement.

Part of the first pillar of the agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States – known as AUKUS – is to develop a nuclear submarine capability for the Royal Australian Navy and deploy up to five U.S. and U.K. Royal Navy nuclear attack submarines to Western Australia as early as 2027, with RAN submariners joining the U.S. crews as soon as this year.

Last year marked the first Australian sailor to graduate from U.S. nuclear power school, USNI News reported at the time. Those sailors are set to serve on U.S. Virginia-class submarines in Hawaii.

Under the AUKUS plan, Australia should field its first nuclear submarine by the 2030s and the first Australian-built boats by the 2040s.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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