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U.S. Virginia-Class Submarine Visits Perth, Australia

United States Navy submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) arrives in Perth, Western Australia.

August 4, 2023

United States Navy submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) has arrived in Perth, Western Australia for a scheduled port visit as part of routine patrols in the Indo-Pacific region.

The nuclear-powered, Virginia-class vessel, with more than 130 crew members, is docked at HMAS Stirling Naval Base on Garden Island, near Rockingham.

It is the first Virginia-class submarine to visit Australia since the AUKUS announcement in March detailing Australia’s optimal pathway to acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

During the visit, U.S. crew members will welcome Royal Australian Navy submariners on board to see the vessel’s operations and technology firsthand.

U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy said the North Carolina’s visit demonstrates America’s unwavering commitment to its allies and partners.

“Our partnership is active and evident every day in Australia, and even more so under AUKUS. The USS North Carolina’s visit builds on a strong tradition of Australia welcoming U.S. sailors to its shores, advances our shared security goals in the region, and exemplifies the immense friendship and trust between our countries.”

Australian Submarine Agency Director General, Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead, said,

“Through increased UK and US port visits and the Submarine Rotational Force –West initiative, Australia will progressively develop the skills, knowledge and expertise to operate, maintain and steward nuclear-powered submarines. Australia is leveraging the more than 70 years of naval nuclear propulsion experience of our AUKUS partners as we become sovereign ready to take ownership of our own Virginia class submarines from the early 2030s.”

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Chris Cavanaugh, Commander, Submarine Group 7 said “Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States share a long history of security cooperation around the world. I am impressed every day by our ability to work together seamlessly during undersea warfare training and operations.”

Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, United Kingdom Royal Navy Director Submarines, joined his colleagues in Australia, stating: “This visit demonstrates the remarkable progress being made by our three our nations to develop Australia’s own SSN capability. The Royal Navy looks forward to conducting similar visits in support of training of Australian personnel to safely operate nuclear submarine technology.”

The U.S. submariners will also volunteer in the local community and have the opportunity to enjoy Western Australia’s tourist attractions and hospitality venues.

The USS North Carolina’s visit follows USS Asheville in March, USS Mississippi in November, and visits of USS Frank Cable and USS Springfield in April 2022.


  • Virginia-class, nuclear-powered submarine
  • Length: 377 feet (115 meters) and weighs approximately 7,800 tons (7,925 metric tons) submerged
  • Home port is Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • USS North Carolina Commanding Officer, Commander Tad Robbins: biography

Imagery & Resources

  • Imagery: High resolution vision will be uploaded here
  • Also see: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS): www.dvidshub.net
  • Fact sheet: “U.S. Navy Attack Submarines”. The U.S. Navy has three classes of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) in service. Virginia-class submarines are the next-generation attack submarine, with 21 commissioned to date. Read more.
  • About the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program: The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program provides militarily effective nuclear propulsion plants and ensures their safe, reliable and long-lived operation. This mission requires the combination of fully trained U.S. Navy men and women with ships that excel in endurance, stealth, speed, and independence from supply chains. Throughout the Program’s history there has never been a reactor accident, nor any release of radioactivity that has had an adverse effect on human health or the quality of the environment. The Program’s standards and record surpass those of any other national or international nuclear program. Read more.