HII and Babcock’s new joint venture to speed up Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine program


Defense companies HII and Babcock have launched a new joint venture and company – H&B Defence – to focus on accelerating the development of the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine program.

Courtesy of Babcock

The new company will combine nuclear submarine and shipbuilding experience from Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (U.S.) to support the nation’s inaugural nuclear-powered submarine program under AUKUS.

Specifically, 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, Babcock explained.

The company, headquartered in Canberra, Australia, will work with government and key stakeholders from industry and academic sectors to achieve its goals. Tim Brown, a 33-year veteran of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), has been appointed H&B Defence Managing Director.

“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,” Brown said.

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 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,” Lempke commented.

Related Article