Rolls-Royce announced in a statement that it has been chosen by the AUKUS alliance to supply nuclear reactors that will power Australia’s future SSN-AUKUS submarines. The UK was chosen as the prime contractor for the Australian units, so the choice of propulsion supplier should come as no surprise.
The company has more than 60 years of experience developing nuclear propulsion systems for Royal Navy submarines. It currently supplies nuclear power plants and other components to the British submarines Astute and Dreadnought. The drives are manufactured at the Darby Operations Center. Rolls-Royce also opened a nuclear skills academy in Derby last year, which will provide 200 apprenticeship places per year for the next decade.
The future SSN-propulsion AUKUS’s system is unknown. Their power plants are likely to be derived from the PWR-2 and PWR-3 pressurised water reactors currently supplied to the Royal Navy.
Tomahawks for Canberra
Earlier, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the US State Department had approved the sale of Tomahawk cruise missiles to Australia. The agreement covers 20 Block IV missiles and 200 Block V missiles. They will cost up to $895 million. Raytheon should be the missile supplier.
In September 2021, Australia expressed interest in purchasing Tomahawk missiles. The missiles are designed for use by Royal Australian Navy [RAN] Hobart-class destroyers.
Support for three components of Australia’s Tomahawk Weapon System (TWS) is included in the agreement: All Up Round (AUR), Tomahawk Tactical Weapons Control System (TTWCS), and the Theater Mission Planning Center (TMPC). This includes supplies of spare parts, missile maintenance, software upgrades, participation in missile tests, personnel training, and so on.