Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the principal naval force of Australia, a part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) along with the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force. The Navy is commanded by the Chief of Navy (CN), who is subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) who commands the ADF; the current CN is Vice Admiral Michael Noonan. The CN is also directly responsible to the Minister of Defence, with the Department of Defence administering the ADF and the Navy.
|Royal Australian Navy|
|Founded||10 July 1911|
|Size||13,650 Permanent personnel|
2,925 Reserve personnel
43 commissioned ships
3 non-commissioned ships
|Part of||Australian Defence Force|
|Headquarters||Russell Offices, Canberra|
|Motto(s)||Serving Australia with Pride|
|March||"Royal Australian Navy"|
|Commander-in-chief||Governor-General David Hurley as representative of Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia|
|Chief of the Defence Force||General Angus Campbell|
|Vice Chief of the Defence Force||Vice Admiral David Johnston|
|Chief of Navy||Vice Admiral Michael Noonan|
|Deputy Chief of Navy||Rear Admiral Christopher Smith|
|Commander Australian Fleet||Rear Admiral Mark Hammond|
|Reconnaissance||Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk|
|Trainer||Airbus Helicopters EC135 T2+|
Formed in 1901, as the Commonwealth Naval Forces, through the amalgamation of the Australian colonial navies following federation; it was granted its current title in 1911. Originally intended for local defence, it became increasingly responsible for the defence of the region as the United Kingdom started to diminish its forces in the Pacific.
The Royal Navy’s Australian Squadron, which was assigned to the Australia Station, provided support to the RAN until naval ships purchased from Britain arrived. The Australian and New Zealand governments helped to fund the Australian Squadron until 1913, while the Admiralty committed itself to keeping the Squadron at a constant strength. The Australian Squadron ceased on 4 October 1913, when RAN ships entered Sydney Harbour for the first time. The Royal Navy continued to provide blue-water defence capability in the Pacific up to the early years of the Second World War. Then, rapid wartime expansion saw the acquisition of large surface vessels and the building of many smaller warships. In the decade following the war, the RAN acquired a small number of aircraft carriers, the last of which was decommissioned in 1982.
Today, the RAN consists of 43 commissioned vessels, 3 non-commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel. The navy is one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the South Pacific region, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean and worldwide operations in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions.
The Commonwealth Naval Forces were established on 1 March 1901, with the amalgamation of the six separate colonial naval forces, following the Federation of Australia, the Royal Australian Navy initially consisted of the former New South Wales, Victorian, Queensland, Western Australian, South Australian and Tasmanian ships and resources of their, disbanded, navies.
The Defence Act of 1903 established the operation and command structure of the Royal Australian Navy. When policy makers sought to determine the newly established force's requirements and purpose, a period of uncertainty followed, with the debate focusing upon whether Australia's naval force would be structured mainly for local defence or designed to serve as a fleet unit within a larger imperial force, controlled centrally by the British Admiralty. In 1908–09, the decision was made to pursue a compromise solution, and the Australian government agreed to establish a force that would be used for local defence but which would be capable of forming a fleet unit within the imperial naval strategy, albeit without central control. As a result, the navy's force structure was set at "one battlecruiser, three light cruisers, six destroyers and three submarines". The first of the RAN's new vessels, the destroyer HMAS Yarra (I), was completed in September 1910, and by the outbreak of the First World War the majority of the planned fleet had been realised. On 10 July 1911, King George V granted the service the title of "Royal Australian Navy".
World War IEdit
Following the declaration of war on the Central Powers, the British War Office requested that the Australian Government deal with German New Guinea. This was for the express purpose of depriving the Imperial German Navy's East Asia Squadron, commanded by Admiral Maximilian von Spee, of regional intelligence by the removal of their access to wireless stations. On 11 August, three destroyers and HMAS Sydney prepared to encounter and torpedo the squadron at German Anchorages in New Guinea; this did not eventuate as the squadron was not present at the locations. Landing parties were placed on Rabaul and Herbertshohe, in an initial attempt to destroy the wireless station located there, until it was found that the objective was to be further inland and an expeditionary force was deemed to be required. Meanwhile, HMAS Australia was tasked with scouring the Pacific Ocean for the German squadron. That same day that the taskforce arrived in New Britain, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) began recruiting, with it consisting of a 1,000-man battalion and a smaller battalion of 500 naval reservists and former seamen. On 19 August, the ANMEF departed Sydney for training in Townsville before the rendezvous with other RAN vessels in Port Moresby.
On 29 August, four cruisers and HMAS Australia assisted the Samoa Expeditionary Force in landing at Apia, and committing a bloodless takeover of German Samoa. Additionally, the RAN captured German merchant vessels, disrupting German merchant shipping in the Pacific. On 7 September, the ANMEF, now including HMAS Australia, three destroyers, and two each of cruisers and submarines, departed for Rabaul. A few days later, on 9 September, HMAS Melbourne landed a party to destroy the island's wireless station, though the German administration promptly surrendered. Between 11-12 September, landings were put ashore at Kabakaul, Rabaul and Herbertshohe; it was during this period that the first Australian casualties and deaths of the war occurred. On 14 September, HMAS Encounter barraged an enemy position at Toma with shells; it was the first time the RAN had fired upon an enemy and had shelled an inland location. The Australian Squadron was placed under control of the British Admiralty, and was moreover tasked with protecting Australian shipping.
Atlantic and MediterraneanEdit
Later in the war, most of the RAN's major ships operated as part of Royal Navy forces in the Mediterranean and North Seas, and then later in the Adriatic, and then the Black Sea following the surrender of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1919, the RAN received a force of six destroyers, three sloops and six submarines from the Royal Navy, but throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, the RAN was drastically reduced in size due to a variety of factors including political apathy and economic hardship as a result of the Great Depression. In this time the focus of Australia's naval policy shifted from defence against invasion to trade protection, and several fleet units were sunk as targets or scrapped. By 1923, the size of the navy had fallen to eight vessels, and by the end of the decade it had fallen further to five, with just 3,500 personnel. In the late 1930s, as international tensions increased, the RAN was modernised and expanded, with the service receiving primacy of funding over the Army and Air Force during this time as Australia began to prepare for war.
World War IIEdit
Early in the Second World War, RAN ships again operated as part of Royal Navy formations, many serving with distinction in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, and off the West African coast. Following the outbreak of the Pacific War and the virtual destruction of Allied naval forces in Southeast Asia, the RAN operated more independently, defending against Axis naval activity in Australian waters, or participating in United States Navy offensives. As the navy took on an even greater role, it was expanded significantly and at its height the RAN was the fourth-largest navy in the world, with 39,650 personnel operating 337 warships. A total of 34 vessels were lost during the war, including three cruisers and four destroyers.
Post war to presentEdit
After the Second World War, the size of the RAN was again reduced, but it gained new capabilities with the acquisition of two aircraft carriers, Sydney and Melbourne. The RAN saw action in many Cold War–era conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region and operated alongside the Royal Navy and United States Navy off Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Since the end of the Cold War, the RAN has been part of Coalition forces in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, operating in support of Operation Slipper and undertaking counter piracy operations. It was also deployed in support of Australian peacekeeping operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
The high demand for personnel in the Second World War led to the establishment of the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) branch in 1942, where over 3,000 women served in shore-based positions. The WRANS was disbanded in 1947, but then re-established in 1951 during the Cold War. It was given permanent status in 1959, and the RAN was the final branch to integrate women in the Australian military in 1985.
The strategic command structure of the RAN was overhauled during the New Generation Navy changes. The RAN is commanded through Naval Headquarters (NHQ) in Canberra. The professional head is the Chief of Navy (CN), who holds the rank of vice admiral. NHQ is responsible for implementing policy decisions handed down from the Department of Defence and for overseeing tactical and operational issues that are the purview of the subordinate commands.
Beneath NHQ are two subordinate commands:
- Fleet Command: fleet command is led by Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT). COMAUSFLT holds the rank of rear admiral; previously, this post was Flag Officer Commanding HM's Australian Fleet (FOCAF), created in 1911, but the title was changed in 1988 to the Maritime Commander Australia. On 1 February 2007, the title changed again, becoming Commander Australian Fleet. The nominated at-sea commander is Commodore Warfare (COMWAR), a one-star deployable task group commander. Fleet command has responsibility to CN for the full command of assigned assets, and to Joint Operations command for the provision of operationally ready forces.
- Navy Strategic Command: the administrative element overseeing the RAN's training, engineering and logistical support needs. Instituted in 2000, the Systems Commander was appointed at the rank of commodore; in June 2008, the position was upgraded to the rank of rear admiral.
- Fleet Air Arm (previously known as the Australian Navy Aviation Group), responsible for the navy's aviation assets and capability. As of 2018, the FAA consists of two front line helicopter squadrons (one focused on anti-submarine and anti-shipping warfare and the other a transport unit), two training squadrons and a trials squadron.
- Mine Warfare, Clearance Diving, Hydrographic, Meteorological and Patrol Forces, an amalgamation of the previous Patrol Boat, Hydrographic, and Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Forces, operating what are collectively termed the RAN's "minor war vessels"
- Submarine Force, (Royal Australian Navy Submarine Service) operating the Collins-class submarines
- Surface Force, covering the RAN's surface combatants (generally ships of frigate size or larger)
The RAN has two primary bases for its fleet: the first, Fleet Base East, is located at HMAS Kuttabul, Sydney and the second, Fleet Base West, is located at HMAS Stirling, near Perth. In addition, three other bases are home to the majority of the RAN's minor war vessels: HMAS Cairns, in Cairns,HMAS Coonawarra, in Darwin, and HMAS Waterhen, in Sydney.
Clearance Diving BranchEdit
The Clearance Diving Branch is composed of two Clearance Diving Teams (CDT) that serve as parent units for naval clearance divers:
- Clearance Diving Team 1 (AUSCDT ONE), based at HMAS Waterhen in New South Wales; and
- Clearance Diving Team 4 (AUSCDT FOUR), based at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.
When clearance divers are sent into combat, Clearance Diving Team Three (AUSCDT THREE) is formed.
The CDTs have two primary roles:
- Mine counter-measures (MCM) and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD); and
- Maritime tactical operations.
As of June 2011, the RAN has 14,215 permanent full-time personnel, 161 gap year personnel, and 2,150 reserve personnel. The permanent full-time force consisted of 3,357 commissioned officers, and 10,697 enlisted personnel. In June 2010, male personnel made up 82% of the permanent full-time force, while female personnel made up 18%. The RAN has the highest percentage of women in the ADF, compared to the RAAF's 17.8% and the Army's 9.7%.
The following are the current senior Royal Australian Navy officers:
- Vice Admiral David Johnston – Vice Chief of the Defence Force
- Vice Admiral Michael Noonan – Chief of Navy
- Rear Admiral Christopher Smith – Deputy Chief of Navy
- Rear Admiral Mark Hammond – Commander Australian Fleet
- Rear Admiral Peter Quinn – Head Navy Capability
- Rear Admiral Kath Richards – Head Navy Engineering
- Rear Admiral Bruce Kafer – Director-General Australian Navy Cadets and Reserves
- Commodore Brett Brace – Hydrographer of Australia
- Warrant Officer Deb Butterworth – Warrant Officer of the Navy
Ranks and uniformsEdit
The uniforms of the Royal Australian Navy are very similar in cut, colour and insignia to their British Royal Navy forerunners. However, beginning with the Second World War, all RAN personnel began wearing shoulder flashes reading Australia, a practice continuing today. These are cloth arcs at shoulder height on uniforms, metallic gold on officers' shoulder boards, and embroidered on shoulder slip-ons.
Commissioned officers of the Australian Navy have pay grades ranging from S-1 to O-11. The only O-11 position in the navy is honorary and has only ever been held by royalty, most recently being held by The Duke of Edinburgh. The highest position occupied in the current Royal Australian Navy structure is O-9, a vice admiral who serves as the Chief of the Navy. O-8 (rear admiral) to O-11 (admiral of the fleet) are referred to as flag officers, O-5 (commander) and above are referred to as senior officers, while S-1 (midshipman) to O-4 (lieutenant commander) are referred to as junior officers. All officers of the navy receive a commission from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The commissioning scroll issued in recognition of the commission is signed by the Governor General of Australia as Commander-in-Chief and the serving Minister for Defence.
|Australia Flag Officer rank insignia|
|Rank title:||Admiral of the Fleet||Admiral||Vice Admiral||Rear Admiral||Commodore|
|Rank title||Captain||Commander||Lieutenant Commander||Lieutenant||Sub Lieutenant/Acting Sub Lieutenant||Midshipman|
|Australia Other Ranks Insignia||No insignia|
|Rank Title:||Warrant Officer of the Navy||Warrant Officer||Chief Petty Officer||Petty Officer||Leading Seaman||Able Seaman||Seaman||Recruit|
Royal Australian Navy Other Ranks wear "right arm rates" insignia, called "Category Insignia" to indicate speciality training qualifications.[better source needed] The use pattern mirrors that of the Royal Navy, and has since formation. Stars or a Crown are added to these to indicate higher qualifications.
The Warrant Officer of the Navy (WO-N) is an appointment held by the most senior sailor in the RAN, and holds the rank of warrant officer (WO). However, the WO-N does not wear the WO rank insignia; instead, they wear the special insignia of the appointment. The WO-N appointment has similar equivalent appointments in the other services, each holding the rank of warrant officer, each being the most senior sailor/soldier/airman in that service, and each wearing their own special insignia rather than their rank insignia. The Australian Army equivalent is the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A) and the Royal Australian Air Force equivalent is the Warrant Officer of the Air Force (WOFF-AF).
Chaplains in the Royal Australian Navy are commissioned officers who complete the same training as other officers in the RAN at the Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell. RAN regulations group RAN chaplains with commanders for purposes of protocol such as marks of respect (saluting); however, RAN chaplains have no other rank other than "chaplain", and their rank emblem is identifiable by a Maltese cross with gold anchor. Senior chaplains are grouped with captains, and principal chaplains are grouped with commodores, but their chaplain rank slide remains the same. Principal chaplains, however, have gold braid on the peak of their white service cap.
Ships and equipmentEdit
The RAN currently operates 43 commissioned vessels, made up of nine ship classes and three individual ships, plus three non-commissioned vessels. In addition, DMS Maritime operates a large number of civilian-crewed vessels under contract to the Australian Defence Force.
|Collins class||Submarine||6||2000||Anti-shipping, intelligence collection. Diesel-electric powered.|
|Canberra class||Landing helicopter dock||2||2014||Amphibious warfare ships with aircraft carrier capacity.|
|Hobart class||Destroyer||3||2017||Air warfare destroyer.|
|Anzac class||Frigate||8||1996||Anti-submarine and anti-aircraft frigate with one helicopter. Two more were built for the Royal New Zealand Navy.|
|Armidale class||Patrol boat||12||2005||Coastal defence, maritime border, and fishery protection.|
|Huon class||Minehunter||4 (2)||1997||Minehunting. Four active, two laid up.|
|Leeuwin class||Survey ship||2||2000||Hydrographic survey|
|Paluma class||Survey launch||2||1989||Hydrographic survey|
|Landing ship dock||1||2011||Heavy sealift and transport|
|HMAS Sirius||Naval oiler||1||2006||Replenishment at sea and afloat support. Modified commercial tanker.|
|Supply class||Replenishment oiler||1||2021||Replenishment at sea and afloat support. One more ordered.|
|Cape class||Patrol boat||2||2017||Maritime border, and fishery protection augmenting the Armidale class. Six more ordered.|
|STS Young Endeavour||Tall ship||1||1988||Sail training ship|
|816 Squadron||MH-60R||8 of 24||Ship-borne ASW and ASuW helicoper||24 MH-60Rs acquired to provide up to 8 deployable helicopters. The 24 helicopters rotate between squadrons with 8 operational, 8 in 725 for training and 8 undergoing maintenance|
|808 Squadron||MRH-90||6||Transport and resupply|
|725 Squadron||MH-60R||8 of 24||Conversion training||+8 in maintenance|
|723 Squadron||EC-135T2+||15||Helicopter aircrew training|
|822X Squadron||ScanEagle||Unmanned aerial vehicles trials|
RAN personnel utilise the following small arms:
There are currently several major projects underway that will see upgrades to RAN capabilities:
- Project SEA 1180 Phase 1 is building twelve Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels based on the Lürssen OPV80 design, to replace Armidale-class patrol boats. Construction started in November 2018, with the first vessel, HMAS Arafura to enter service in Q4 2021.
- Project SEA 1429 Phase 2 is upgrading the Collins-class submarines with the Mk48 Mod 7 CBASS torpedo. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was achieved in May 2008 with Final Operational Capability (FOC) due in December 2018, 60 months late.
- Project SEA 1439 Phase 3 is upgrading the Collins-class submarine platform systems to improve 'reliability, sustainability, safety and capability'. IOC was achieved in October 2007, FOC is due in September 2022.
- Project SEA 1439 Phase 4A is replacing the Collins-class submarines' combat system with the AN/BYG-1(V)8 developed in conjunction with the US Navy IOC Expected to achieve Final Operating Capability in December 2018. IOC was in May 2008 with FOC planned for December 2018.
- Project SEA 1654 Phase 3 is acquiring two Supply-class replenishment ships based on the Spanish Cantabria-class oiler. HMAS Supply was launched in November 2018 and will replace HMAS Success, while the second, HMAS Stalwart will replace HMAS Sirius.
- Project SEA 5000 Phase 1 is acquiring nine Hunter-class frigates based on the British Type 26 Global Combat Ship, to replace the Anzac-class frigates in the late 2020s. The vessels will be built in Adelaide by BAE Systems, with the first three to be named HMA Ships Hunter, Flinders and Tasman.
- Project SEA 1000 is the procurement of 12 submarines of the Attack class, a diesel-electric version of the French Barracuda-class nuclear submarine which would have entered service in the 2030s, with the first boat to be named HMAS Attack. However, in September 2021, the Australian government announced it would terminate the project in favour of acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.
- On 1 May 2020, the Minister for Defence announced that six evolved Cape-class patrol boats had been ordered as a form of economic stimulus following the economic impact of the 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic. The six ships are worth around $350 million and will be built by Austal in Henderson, Western Australia.
- Project SEA 1905 is the acquisition of a further two Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels in a mine counter-measures configuration.
- Project SEA 2400 is the Hydrographic Data Collection Capability Program which includes the introduction of a Strategic Military Survey Capability (SMSB) to replace the Leeuwin-class survey vessels.
On 15 September 2021, the Australian Government announced their participation in the AUKUS agreement during a joint press conference with US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Under the new agreement, the Royal Australian Navy will, for the first time, be able to build nuclear submarines with the assistance of the United States and the United Kingdom
The RAN currently has forces deployed on three major operations:
- Operation Resolute: border protection;
- Operation Manitou: counter-piracy, counter-terrorism and maritime stability in the Middle East; and
- Operation Accordion: support operation to provide sustainment to forces deployed on Operation Manitou.
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