Australia’s ANI reappoints MD/CEO, defence minister announces

Minister for Defence Richard Marles
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles embarks in the US Navy Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) USS Asheville during the boat’s visit in March 2023 to HMAS Stirling, Western Australia. Across the country, Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia will build the RAN’s own SSNs.

Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd (ANI) has reappointed its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Andrew Seaton, who has held both posts since 2020, has been reappointed to the posts for a five-year period.

ANI is located at Osborne Naval Shipyard, South Australia. Established by the Australian government, ANI refers to itself as a “state-of-the-art infrastructure … for the domestic manufacture of world-class naval vessels”.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is undergoing a major transformation, receiving new platforms and capabilities for the air, surface, and sub-surface environments, including a nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) programme that is being delivered under the Australia/UK/US AUKUS programme.

“Mr Seaton’s reappointment comes at a time when ANI has a critical role to play in supporting the government’s defence and national security objectives, including developing infrastructure that will be essential for Australia’s SSN programme,” the Hon Richard Marles MP, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, said in a statement released by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 19 April.

The statement noted that the five-year term covering the renewed tenure will be a key time for ANI, with critical shipbuilding infrastructure – including designing and building Australia’s SSN construction yard – set to be put in place.

In the statement, Australia’s Minister for Finance Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher added that Seaton had already led ANI through the planning and construction of important shipbuilding facilities.

Alongside the RAN’s future SSN, major shipbuilding programmes that will be delivered at Osborne Naval Shipyard include the navy’s Type 26 Hunter-class anti-submarine warfare frigate. The shipyard is scheduled to begin delivering the frigates from the late 2020s. According to media reports, the AUKUS programme – which is producing a new SSN class, SSN-AUKUS, for both the RAN and the UK Royal Navy – is expected to begin delivering these new boats from the late 2030s.

by Dr. Lee Willett, London