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Australian steel for Australian SSN-AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines

Australian-made steel will be used in the construction of Australia’s conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines built at Osborne Naval Shipyard, South Australia, subject to a comprehensive qualification process.

The Australian Submarine Agency has signed a $15 million contract with Australian steel manufacturer, Bisalloy Steels, for the qualification of Australian steel for use on Australia’s future SSN-AUKUS submarines.

The comprehensive qualification process, involving more than 4,500 tests, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2025.

Bisalloy Steels will perform the advanced heat treatment process on the raw plate steel to produce high-grade submarine pressure hull steel that meets or exceeds both UK and US standards. The raw plate steel will be supplied by another Australian company, BlueScope.

Under a similar arrangement, Australian steel was used in the construction of the six Collins-class submarines with heat treatment and welding techniques developed or validated by DSTG.

“The qualification of Australian steel is an important step in the Australian Government’s strategy for acquiring state-of-the-art conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy.

“The strength and quality of Australian steel will keep Australian submariners safe in the SSN-AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines for decades to come, just as it does today on our Collins Class submarines.”

The qualification of the steel to both the UK and US standards will increase the resilience of the AUKUS trilateral supply chain. Not only will the steel produced under this contract be used for qualification purposes, it will also be used to develop the necessary welding procedures, and used in early production demonstration activities occurring ahead of the commencement of construction of Australia’s first SSN-AUKUS submarine later this decade.

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