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Australian Navy submariners are training in New London to combat China

U.S. Representative Joe Courtney speaks at the Electric Boat legislative breakfast.
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
U.S. Representative Joe Courtney speaks at the Electric Boat legislative breakfast.

Connecticut submarine maker Electric Boat gave their annual legislative update on Thursday to local municipal and business leaders.

The company has been aggressively recruiting to increase its workforce to meet the demand for submarines for the U.S. Navy.

Electric Boat President Kevin Graney said their expansion is also being driven by countries like China.

“The size of the shipbuilding industry in China, Jianghan shipyard, is 7.5 square miles in size. And if you take all of Electric Boat, Quonset Point and Rhode Island, we’re about a half a square mile. So, you think about the capacity China can bring to bear and it is so important that we continue to build ships for our Navy and challenge those threats,” Graney said.

Graney said Electric Boat is working on the new Columbia class submarine, their largest to date.

Electric Boat President Kevin Graney.
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
Electric Boat President Kevin Graney.

Three submariners from the Royal Australian Navy were in attendance at the breakfast. They are currently undergoing nuclear submarine training at the New London Submarine Base in Groton.

It’s part of the AUKUS deal with Australia. Three Electric Boat nuclear submarines will be sold to Australia as they counter the threat of China in their territorial waters.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) said the AUKUS submarine agreement signed in 2021 between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. will help to combat the rising threats from Russia and China.

“We’ve never sold a nuclear submarine to another country,” Courtney said. “You know, right now, if a foreign national shows up at Kevin’s shipyard, a person really can't go in there, maybe the model room and that’s about it. So, included in the bill are some new regulations, new authorities to the state department so we can help skill up Australians, because that’s going to be part of the plan by 2040, to have their own shipyard that’s in place there.”

Electric Boat turns 125 years old this year.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.