The announcement on 16 September of the historic AUKUS Alliance a trilateral security partnership, caught us all by surprise. In hindsight however, its origin can be traced to recent political events and the rapidly changing strategic military environment. The first major initiative of the Alliance is to assist Australia to acquire at least eight nuclear powered submarines with the US and UK helping with technology transfer. Exactly how that will be done is not yet clear as Vice Admiral Johnathan Mead AO has been appointed as the Chief of Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force to conduct an 18-month study to “define the optimal path to acquire the submarines.” It will be a challenging project as the intention is to build all the submarines in South Australia in time to take over from the current Collins Class submarines as they retire from service.
Peter will cover a broad sweep from the origin of the Alliance and the regional reactions to it with an overview of the two options available, the US Virginia Class and the UK Astute Class, outlining their roles and capabilities followed by a short review of the support facilities, also covering nuclear safety.
Presenter – John Peter Bullard
Peter spent 35 years as an engineer officer in the Royal Navy. He qualified as a conventional submariner and as the RN nuclear submarine program expanded, undertook an advanced marine engineering course studying nuclear submarine reactor design. His sea time in nuclear submarines finished with a nine-month unsupported deployment to the Far East. He followed by lecturing to engineer officers undergoing nuclear propulsion training before moving to the nuclear operational safety section. His design time was spent as the head of the future submarine nuclear propulsion plant section working on the as then unnamed, Astute Class machinery design. In London in the Naval Staff Operational Requirements Directorate, he managed the concept studies for the Astute class. Peter became an Australian citizen in 2009.