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20 Jun 2024

HII and Babcock launch new company H&B Defence to accelerate Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine program

HII and Babcock launch new company H&B Defence to accelerate Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine program
A Rendering of SSN-AUKUS (BAE Systems)
Babcock Australia Press Release

Defence giants HII and Babcock have formed a ground-breaking new joint venture and entity – H&B Defence – to accelerate the development of critical sovereign capability for the once-in-a-generation AUKUS conventional armed, nuclear-powered submarine program.

H&B Defence combines world-leading nuclear submarine and shipbuilding experience from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States to support the nation’s inaugural nuclear-powered submarine program under AUKUS.

Together, HII and Babcock bring comprehensive expertise in every aspect of nuclear-powered submarine activities to support the development of Australia’s sovereign capability. H&B Defence has been established to support all steps of Australia’s optimal pathway to sovereign nuclear-powered submarines under AUKUS Pillar 1 – including workforce, nuclear infrastructure design and build, submarine defueling and decommissioning, nuclear waste and future sustainment.

The company, headquartered in Canberra, Australia, will work with government and key stakeholders from industry and academic sectors to develop a comprehensive program to promote and grow a skilled sovereign nuclear workforce in Australia.

Tim Brown AM has been appointed H&B Defence Managing Director.

Brown, of Brisbane and a 33-year veteran of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), has extensive knowledge and experience of Australia’s submarine programme and Defence and Industry strategy. He is a mechanical engineer who primarily served as a submarine officer and commanded both a Collins class submarine and an ANZAC class frigate. As the Director General Submarines and Head of the Submarine Profession, he led the submarine capability enterprise through a period of unheralded submarine availability and high levels of workforce growth, and he played an early and instrumental role in the AUKUS security partnership. Brown brings significant insight and leadership experience to drive the transformation and uplift of Australian industry to support the operation of nuclear-powered submarines.

The company board is chaired by HII’s President of the Nuclear and Environmental Services and HII Australia business lead, Michael Lempke and also includes Babcock Australasia CEO, Andrew Cridland.

H&B Managing Director Tim Brown said:

“H&B Defence’s mission is to transform Australia’s submarine industrial landscape to position the nation to operate nuclear submarines. This joint venture will focus on equipping Australia with the requisite industrial base, supply chains, and workforce required to support and manage all aspects of the nuclear-powered submarine lifecycle.”

HII Australia Business Lead Michael Lempke said:

“H&B marks a significant step forward in an enduring partnership. HII is excited to work through H&B Defence to leverage the deep-rooted experience and advanced methodologies from Australia, the UK, and the US to support AUKUS Pillar 1. This collaboration is a fusion of resources and visions—aiming to enhance capabilities and foster innovation in submarine technologies and maritime systems to strengthen national and global security while ensuring a safe and secure future.”

Babcock Australasia CEO Andrew Cridland said:

“The formation of H&B Defence is an exciting day for Babcock Australasia as we continue to build on our existing and long-term partnership with the Australian Government in support of our nation’s defences.

“H&B Defence brings together Babcock and HII’s collective history in nuclear and the best and brightest minds to support AUKUS Pillar 1.”

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