May 31, 2015

US Nuclear Subs Visiting Fleet Base West, WA since 2005

Visits by US nuclear subs to Australia's main submarine base, HMAS Stirling
Fleet Base West, Garden Island 
(see map aboveRockingham,  Western Australia, are beneficial to Australia. Some visits are not made public by the USN or RAN. Here are some publicised visits since 2005:


Submarine Squadron 15 at Guam based Los Angeles-class USS Annapolis (SSN 760) visited HMAS Stirling on March 10, 2024 (source DVIDS). This visit was the second visit by a US SSN to Stirling since the announcement of the AUKUS Optimal Pathway in March 2023. USS North Carolina (SSN-777) immediately below was the first visit in August 4, 2023 since the March 2023 announcement.


The Virginia-class USS North Carolina (SSN-777) docked at the HMAS Stirling on August 4, 2023 Friday after taking part in Talisman Sabre military exercises off Queensland.


Guam based Los Angeles-class sub USS Asheville (SSN 758) visited

RAN base HMAS Stirling, Western Australia, from March 1 - 16, 2023.


Australian website APDR reported and The Mandarin, November 29, 2022, reported:

"For a routine visit, on a routine deployment, Defence Minister Richard Marles is plenty excited about the USS Mississippi (SSN-782) a Virginia-class SSN to] Fleet Base West...HMAS Stirling"

...Since 1960, Australia has hosted over 285 visits by UK and US nuclear-powered vessels [subs and nuclear propelled US carriers] with over 1,840 total days in port,” Marles’ statement said.

"“The USS Mississippi is the second US nuclear-powered vessel to visit Australia in 2022, following a visit by the USS Springfield in April [2022 see below]".

And the USN in an environmental cause. The USN reports via NewsWires, Dec 6, 2022, "USS Mississippi Sailors Volunteer at Western Australia Wildlife Center"


The US Embassy, Canberra, Australia reported, April 24, 2022:

"The United States Navy submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761) has arrived [at HMAS Stirling aka Fleet Base West, at Rockingham, just south of Perth, Western Australia] for a scheduled port visit.

[Los Angeles class, SSN] Springfield is forward-deployed to the Pacific island of Guam and routinely operates in the Indo-Pacific, conducting maritime security operations and supporting national security interests." 

[Since March 21, 2022, USS Springfield has been in Submarine Squadron 15 based at Naval Base Guam (Apra Harbour).]  

USS Springfield underway.


UK SSN, HMS Astute visited Fleet Base West, at HMAS Stirling on 

October 29, 2021, with then Defence Minister Peter Dutton, taking the credit.  


5 days ago US Embassy, Canberra, reported:

"...The submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) [also normally based at Guam] is visiting HMAS Stirling Naval Base near Rockingham as part of routine operations in the Indo-Pacific region...."

Pete Comment

As far as I'm aware this is the first US SSN port visit to Australia since the AUKUS submarine plan was announced in September, 2021.


Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) Visits HMAS Stirling

The US Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) reported January 30, 2020 

USS Texas (SSN 775) "is visiting HMAS Stirling as part of their routine patrol in the Indo-Pacific to demonstrate U.S. Navy’s ongoing commitment to theater security cooperation and friendship with partner navies.

...Virginia-class submarines are built to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations forces support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence."

For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 7, visit

[Commander, Submarine Group 7 (COMSUBGRU Seven) based at Yokosuka, Japan, is responsible for submarines deployed to the Western Pacific, the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean [including Western Australia]].


USS Santa Fe following the 4 Collins class subs.

The US Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (dvids) reported February 26, 2019 that  

“The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) [above] arrived at HMAS Stirling, Australia for a scheduled port visit this week”

“Santa Fe’s port visit followed the completion of a joint training exercise with four Royal Australian Navy Collins-class submarines, HMAS Collins, HMAS Farncomb, HMAS Dechaineux and HMAS Sheean, in waters around Australia. The exercise, which was designed to enhance anti-submarine warfare abilities, gave the crews of both navies the opportunity to employ and experiment with real world tactics. Pulling into port, however, gave the crews the opportunity to meet each other face-to-face and forge greater ties.”


HMAS Stirling is an Australian naval base, known as Fleet Base West, at which all 6 of Australia’s Collins class submarines are home based. HMAS Stirling is situated at Rockingham, near Fremantle, near Perth, Western Australia. USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) is home ported at Pearl Harbour.

It is heartening that 4 of the 6 Collins class submarines were available for the exercise with USS Santa Fe.


The SSN USS Jacksonville visits HMAS Stirling Fleet Base West, June 2015.

USS Jacksonville, an Los Angeles class SSN, visited in late June 2015 escorting ships of US Expeditionary Strike Group Seven that also docked at HMAS Stirling. This Group included  amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Green Bay (LPD-20) a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. and USS Preble (DDG-88) an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer .


USS Albuquerque, Los Angeles class SSN at Garden Island, Rockingham, February 24, 2015 (Photo and details courtesy


USS Chicago, a Los Angeles class SSN, visited Garden Island, Rockingham, on August 21, 2013 (Photo and details courtesy


USS Michigan, another of the US's four SSGNs, arriving at Garden Island, Rockingham, on April 22, 2012 during its Western Pacific (which also cover the Indian Ocean, Middle East area) deployment. (Photo courtesy US Navy)


The SSGN USS Ohio temporarily docked at Garden Island, Rockingham, on January 1, 2010. Note  the 2 pods behind the sail - mainly to house SEAL Delivery Vehicles. (Photo Courtesy Ian Johnson 

USS Ohio was the first of the US’s Trident (missile) class nuclear powered submarines. From November 2003, Ohio’s 24 Trident nuclear missiles were removed and 154 conventional Tomahawk cruise missiles were put in theirplace. Ohio rejoined the fleet in January 2006 having been redesignated a guided missile nuclear powered submarine (SSGN 726). 

Ohio's positioning in the Indian Ocean makes it easier and quicker for her to launch Tomahawk missiles onto targets from the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Ohio can also support operations of up to 66 Navy SEALS for up to 90 days. 


USS Buffalo, a Los Angeles SSN at Garden Island, Rockingham, in 2007 (Photo courtesy Australian Navy)


USS Hawaii a Virginia class SSN at Garden Island, Rockingham, visit date unknown but probably 2010 or later (Photo courtesy Australian Government Department of Defence)



The SSN USS Houston at Garden Island, Rockingham, on September 4, 2005. (Photo Courtesy Ian Johnson,

USS Houston is the 26th submarine in the Los Angeles class of SSNs. In December 2004, Houston changed homeport from San Diego, Calif., to Apra Harbor, Guam. In January 2012, her homeport again changed from Guam to Pearl Harbor.

US SSNs in the Indo-Pacific region can protect US carrier groups, amphibious forces and shadow nuclear submarines or surface forces (such as the Russian cruiser Varyag).


The visiting US nuclear subs dock at HMAS Stirling which is Fleet Base West located towards bottom center of the map at Garden Island, Rockingham, Western Australia.



Ian Johnson said...

I'm glad you like my photos, Both were taken at HMAS Stirling, also known as Fleet Base West, which is located in Rockingham, not Fremantle, Western Australia.
Rockingham is 40 kilometres south of Fremantle.
Fremantle's Inner Harbour is a nuclear free zone, but not the Gage Roads Anchorage or HMAS Stirling, which saw its first USN nuclear powered submarine in 1976.

Pete said...

Hi Ian Johnson

Thanks for your comments and corrections. I've changed the text accordingly.

Thanks also for taking those great shots of USS Houton and USS Ohio.