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Fairbanks Morse, Marand Link Up on AUKUS Submarine Sustainment

The Los Angeles-class attack sub
The Los Angeles-class attack sub USS Santa Fe (foreground) with four Australian Collins-class subs, 2019. FMD made the auxiliary engines for the Los Angeles-class (USN file image)

Published Jul 26, 2023 5:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

American engine manufacturer Fairbanks Morse Defense has reached an agreement with an Australian company, Marand, to make OEM replacement parts and provide service. The agreement is timely, as the U.S. and Australia have signed a submarine basing and technology-sharing program that will see increased deployments of U.S. Navy and Royal Navy subs to Australia. The long-range plan also calls for Australia to buy as many as five Virginia-class nuclear subs from American shipbuilders, and to begin U.S. Navy training for crews to operate them.  

Fairbanks Morse Defense is known best for its diesel powerplants for surface ships, and it is a major supplier to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. About two-thirds of the Coast Guard cutter fleet and about 80 percent of Navy ships with medium-speed power have a Fairbanks Morse engine. However, FMD also has lesser-known product lines for submarines. The venerable 38 8-1/8 diesel engine, first used on American submarines during World War II, is still in service as an auxiliary powerplant aboard the Los Angeles-class, Seawolf-class and Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarines. The company is also a major supplier of valve systems for naval shipbuilding, through its Hunt division, as well as a provider of specialized equipment for naval operations. 

In a statement, FMD noted that it has years of experience with the power and propulsion systems that are being shared with the Royal Australian Navy. It is sharing this expertise with Marand, which will manufacture and repair FMD parts and acquire some of FMD's experience with nuclear propulsion. Marand will also leverage FMD's global service network. In return, FMD will have an opportunity to expand in a region that has top priority for the U.S. maritime services. 

Marand is a major defense sustainment and manufacturing supplier. It is a contributor to the F-35 and MQ-28 jet programs, as well as a supporting manufacturer for Australia's version of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) weapons system.