Connecticut Poised to Benefit from AUKUS Agreement
General Dynamics Electric Boat and its Connecticut supply chain stand to see a boost in operations, thanks to a multinational agreement that will send nuclear-powered attack submarines to Australia.
On March 13, the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia announced details of the AUKUS partnership.
President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the agreement during a joint address in San Diego.
“Our unprecedented trilateral cooperation, I believe, is testament to the strength of the longstanding ties that unite us and to our shared commitment of ensuring the Indo-Pacific remains free and open, prosperous and secure,” Biden said.
Under the agreement, Australia will purchase at least three Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s, with the potential to buy two more.
There was no announcement of where Australia’s submarines will be produced. However, as a producer of the attack submarines, Electric Boat and its Connecticut suppliers are poised to benefit from the agreement.
Opportunities for Connecticut
“The AUKUS agreement underscores the critical role submarines play in the defense of our nation and our allies and calls attention to the importance of continuing to grow our submarine industrial base here in the United States,” General Dynamics Electric Boat president Kevin Graney said.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT 2) supports the partnership, and founded the bipartisan AUKUS Working Group in Congress.
He called the agreement a “seminal moment in America’s history.”
He said Connecticut’s shipbuilders, suppliers, and submarine industrial base are prepared to take advantage of any opportunities presented by AUKUS.
“From design to delivery, Electric Boat and its supply chain in Connecticut stand at the forefront of the submarine industry,” said CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima.
“This agreement will only expand that impact on a global stage.”
As part of the AUKUS agreement, Australia will eventually build its own submarines, based on U.S. technology and British design.
“All three countries have a lot of hard work ahead to size up their industrial bases and to train Australian sailors to operate this technology,” Courtney said.
Training Australian Sailors
Beginning this year, Australian sailors will train in the U.S. and Britain to learn how the Virginia-class submarines are built.
Some of that training is likely to happen at Electric Boat and schools in Connecticut.
“We look forward to working with the Navy and our industry partners to use our knowledge and expertise to support Australia’s acquisition of nuclear submarines and the development of that country’s shipbuilding infrastructure,” said Graney.
At Electric Boat’s annual legislative briefing on Feb. 27, Graney said the company is “in the midst of a once-in-a-generation expansion.
In December, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Electric Boat a $5.1 billion contract for the construction of the first two Columbia-class submarines in addition to its production of the Virginia-class submarines.
To support the demand, they are hiring at an historic rate, looking to add more than 5,000 workers this year and 4,000 to 5,000 a year moving forward.
“Solving the state’s labor crisis and helping companies like Electric Boat attract and retain skilled workers is critical to growing Connecticut’s economy,” DiPentima said.
“It takes a commitment from all of us to find solutions that will make the state a more affordable place to live and work.”
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