Thursday, March 16, 2023

Broad Range of Skills Needed for AUKUS Submarine Project

On 4 Mar 2023 the Australian government announced a plan to acquire three US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines from 2030, with modified UK Astute "AUKUS" class submarines built in Australia from 2040. Commentary on the announcement has pointed out that nuclear physics graduates will be needed to build, maintain, and operate the submarines. However, there will be many more specialists in engineering and computing needed. A submarine is essentially a metal tube full of computers. The weapons launched are similarly increasingly computer controlled.

Defence personnel operating, and operating from, the submarines, will also need high level skills in computing, and communications. There is a role for Australian higher education in training these personnel, and helping the Australian Defence Force in making best use of the submarines. As an example, in 2020 I coached a team in the 
Navy Warfare Innovation Workshop. Mixed teams of navy, public service and defence industry personnel worked on new ways to counter threats, many of which used drones.

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