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The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the principal
naval force A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare, naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral zone, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and ...

naval force
of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, a part of the
Australian Defence Force Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determine ...
(ADF) along with the
Australian Army The Australian Army is the military land force of Australia. Formed in 1901, as the Commonwealth Military Forces, through the amalgamation of the Colonial forces of Australia, Australian colonial forces following Federation of Australia, federat ...
and
Royal Australian Air Force "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Australian Air Force March Past (Eagles of Australia) , mascot = , anni ...
. 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 Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer rank, equivalent to lieutenant general and air marshal. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral. In many navies,Vice admiral is a three-star rank in the navies of N ...
Michael Noonan. The CN is also directly responsible to the
Minister of Defence A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
, with the Department of Defence administering the ADF and the Navy. Formed in 1901, as the Commonwealth Naval Forces, through the amalgamation of the Australian colonial navies following the
Federation of Australia The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies In the British Empire, a self-governing colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of fo ...
. Although it was originally intended for local defence, it became increasingly responsible for the defence of the region as the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
started to diminish its forces in the Pacific. The Royal Australian Navy was initially a
green-water navy A green-water navy is a maritime force that is capable of operating in its nation's littoral zone The littoral zone or nearshore is the part of a sea, lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by ...
, and where the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
provided a blue-water force to the Australian Squadron, which the Australian and New Zealand governments helped to fund, and that was assigned to the
Australia Station The Australia Station was the British, and later Australian, naval command responsible for the waters around the Australian continent.Dennis et. al 2008, p.53. Australia Station was under the command of the Commander-in-Chief, Australia Station, ...
. This period lasted until 1913, when naval ships purchased from Britain arrived. Though the
British Admiralty The Admiralty was the British government department The departments of the Government of the United Kingdom are the principal units through which it exercises executive authority; a few of them are titled Ministry (government department), mi ...
continued to provide blue-water defence capability in the Pacific up to the early years of the Second World War. During its history, the Royal Australian Navy has participated in a number of major wars, including the First and Second World Wars, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation and the Vietnam War. 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 The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...
, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean and worldwide operations in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions.


History


Formation

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 Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies In the British Empire, a self-governing colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of fo ...
. 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 1903'' established the operation and command structure of the Royal Australian Navy. When policymakers sought to determine the newly established force's requirements and purpose, there were arguments about 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 The Admiralty was the British government department The departments of the Government of the United Kingdom are the principal units through which it exercises executive authority; a few of them are titled Ministry (government department), mi ...
.Dennis et al. 1995, p. 516. In 1908–09, a compromise solution was pursued, with the Australian government agreeing to establish a force for local defence but that would be capable of forming a fleet unit within the Royal Navy, 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 World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
the majority of the planned fleet had been realised.Whitley 2000, p. 17. On 10 July 1911, King
George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. Born during the reign of his grandmother ...

George V
granted the service the title of "Royal Australian Navy".


World War I


Pacific

Following the declaration of war on the
Central Powers The Central Powers, also known as the Central Empires,german: Mittelmächte; hu, Központi hatalmak; tr, İttifak Devletleri / ; bg, Централни сили, translit=Tsentralni sili was one of the two main coalitions that fought World ...
, the
British War Office The War Office This article contains text from this source, which is available under th Open Government Licence v3.0 © Crown copyright was a Department of the British Government responsible for the administration of the British Army The ...
tasked the capture of
German New Guinea German New Guinea (german: link=no, Deutsch-Neuguinea) consisted of the northeastern part of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-larges ...

German New Guinea
to the
Australian Government The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the ...
. This was to deprive the
Imperial German Navy The Imperial German Navy is the common English term for the Imperial Navy () of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy (from 1867 the North German Federal Navy), which was mainly for coast def ...
's
East Asia Squadron The German East Asia Squadron (German: ''Kreuzergeschwader'' or ''Ostasiengeschwader'') was an Imperial German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the mid-1890s until 1914, when it was destroyed at the Battl ...
of regional intelligence by removing their access to wireless stations. On 11 August, three destroyers and HMAS ''Sydney'' prepared to engage the squadron at German Anchorages in New Guinea, which did not eventuate as the vessels were not present. Landing parties were placed on
Rabaul Rabaul () is a township in East New Britain East New Britain is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territo ...

Rabaul
and Herbertshohe to destroy its German wireless station; however, the objective was found to be further inland and an expeditionary force was required. Meanwhile, HMAS ''Australia'' was tasked with scouring the Pacific Ocean for the German squadron. The
Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was a small volunteer force of approximately 2,000 men, raised in Australia shortly after the outbreak of World War I to seize and destroy German wireless telegraphy, wireless station ...
(ANMEF) began recruiting on the same day that the taskforce arrived in
New Britain New Britain ( tpi, Niu Briten) is the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago, part of the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea. It is separated from New Guinea by a northwest corner of the Solomon Sea (or with an island hop of Umboi Island, ...

New Britain
, and consisted of two battalions: one of 1,000 men, and the other with 500 serving and former seamen. On 19 August, the ANMEF departed
Sydney Sydney ( ; Dharug The Darug or Dharug people are an Aboriginal Australian people, who share strong ties of kinship and, in Colonial Australia, pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans, scattered througho ...

Sydney
for training in
Townsville Townsville is a city on the north-eastern coast of Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the ...

Townsville
before the rendezvous with other RAN vessels in
Port Moresby (; Tok Pisin: ''Pot Mosbi''), also referred to as Pom City or simply Moresby, is the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea. It is one of the largest cities in the southwestern Pacific (along with Jayapura) outside of Australia and New Ze ...

Port Moresby
. On 29 August, four cruisers and HMAS ''Australia'' assisted the Samoa Expeditionary Force in landing at
Apia Apia is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase ...
, 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. On 17 September, German New Guinea surrendered to the encroaching ANMEF, with the overall campaign a success and exceeded the objectives set by the War Office. However, the RAN submarine HMAS ''AE1'' became the first ever vessel of the new navy to be sunk. The Australian Squadron was placed under control of the
British Admiralty The Admiralty was the British government department The departments of the Government of the United Kingdom are the principal units through which it exercises executive authority; a few of them are titled Ministry (government department), mi ...
, and was moreover tasked with protecting Australian shipping. On 1 November, the RAN escorted the first Australian Imperial Force convoy from Albany, WA and set for the
Khedivate of Egypt The Khedivate of Egypt (, ; ota, خدیویت مصر ') was an autonomous tributary state Ayutthaya from its vassal states in the Malay Peninsula">Ayutthaya_Kingdom.html" ;"title="Bunga mas, a form of tribute sent to the King of Ayutthaya K ...
, which was soon to become the
Sultanate of Egypt The Sultanate of Egypt () was the short-lived protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometim ...
. On 9 November, HMAS ''Sydney'' began hunting for SMS ''Emden'', a troublesome German coastal raider, which Sydney later destroyed. Following the almost complete destruction of the East Asia Squadron in the Battle of the Falklands by the Royal Navy, the RAN became able to be reassigned to other naval theatres of the war.


Atlantic and Mediterranean

On 28 February 1915, the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train (RANBT) was formed with members of the
Royal Australian Naval Reserve The Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR) is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Australian Navy The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the navy, naval force of Australia. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources ...
who could not find billets in the RAN. Following the entrance of the Ottoman Empire in alliance with the Central Powers, HMAS ''AE2'' was committed to the initial naval operation of the
Gallipoli campaign#REDIRECT Gallipoli campaign The Gallipoli campaign, or ). was a military campaign in the First World War World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28& ...
. After the failure of the naval strategy, an amphibious assault was planned to enable the Allies' warships to pass through the
Dardanelles satellite in September 2006. The body of water on the left is the Aegean Sea, while the one on the upper right is the Sea of Marmara. The Dardanelles is the tapered waterway running diagonally between the two seas, from the northeast to the ...
and capture
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
. The RANBT was sent ashore, along with the invasion, for engineering duties. Later in the war, most of the RAN's major ships operated as part of
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
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 The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
.


Interwar years

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 The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
.Gillett & Graham 1977, p. 61. In this time the focus of Australia's naval policy shifted from defence against invasion to trade protection,Dennis et al. 1995 p. 518. 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 An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch Military branch ...
and Air Force during this time as Australia began to prepare for war.


World War II

Early in the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, RAN ships again operated as part of Royal Navy formations, many serving with distinction in the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...
, the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of , ) is a in . The body of water is an extension of the () through the and lies between to the northeast and the to the southwest.United Nations Group of Exper ...
, the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...
, and off the West African coast. Following the outbreak of the
Pacific War The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or i ...
and the virtual destruction of Allied naval forces in
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
, the RAN operated more independently, defending against
Axis naval activity in Australian waters Although Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of isl ...
, or participating in
United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = "Anchors Aweigh" , mascot = , equipment = List of equipment of the United St ...
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 present

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 The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
–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 The Australian contribution to the war in Afghanistan has been known as Operation Slipper (2001–2014) and Operation Highroad (from 2015). Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations and the size of the forces deployed have varied and ADF involv ...
and undertaking counter piracy operations. It was also deployed in support of Australian peacekeeping operations in
East Timor East Timor () or Timor-Leste (; tet, Timór Lorosa'e), officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste ( pt, República Democrática de Timor-Leste, tet, Repúblika Demokrátika Timór-Leste), is an island country An island country o ...
and the
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands is a sovereign country A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, in ...
. The high demand for personnel in the Second World War led to the establishment of the
Women's Royal Australian Naval Service The Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) was the women's branch of the Royal Australian Navy The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the navy, naval force of Australia. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resou ...
(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 Women currently make up 19.2% of the ADF workforce. Women have served in Australian armed forces since 1899. Until World War II women were restricted to the Australian Army Nursing Service. This role expanded in 1941–42 when the Royal Austra ...
in 1985.Dennis et al. 1995, pp. 607–608.


Structure


Command structure

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 Canberra ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices an ...

Canberra
. The professional head is the Chief of Navy (CN), who holds the rank of
vice admiral Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer rank, equivalent to lieutenant general and air marshal. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral. In many navies,Vice admiral is a three-star rank in the navies of N ...

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 Fleet Command is responsible for the command, operations, readiness, training and force generation of all ships, submarines, aircraft squadrons, diving teams, and shore establishments of the Royal Australian Navy. Fleet Command is headquartered a ...
(COMAUSFLT). COMAUSFLT holds the rank of
rear admiral Rear admiral is a senior naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for wa ...
; 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 Commodore may refer to: Ranks * Commodore (rank) Commodore is a senior naval rank used in many navies which is equivalent to brigadier and air commodore that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. It is either regarded as ...
; in June 2008, the position was upgraded to the rank of rear admiral. Fleet Command was previously made up of seven
Force Element Group The Force Element Groups (FEGs) of the Australian Defence Force are the operational capabilities. :''Capabilities are formed into Force Elements (FE), which in turn are aggregated into Force Element Groups (FEG). Each capability is assigned a leve ...
s, but after the New Generation Navy changes, this was restructured into four Force Commands: *
Fleet Air Arm The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the :Fighting Arms of the Royal Navy, five fighting arms of the Royal Navy and is responsible for the delivery of naval air power both from land and at sea. The Fleet Air Arm operates the Lockheed Martin F-35 ...
(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 A patrol boat (also referred to as a patrol craft, patrol ship or patrol vessel) is a relatively small naval ship, naval vessel generally designed for Coastal defense and fortification, coastal defence, border protection, immigration law-enforc ...
, 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 s * Surface Force, covering the RAN's surface combatants (generally ships of
frigate A frigate () is a type of warship A warship or combatant ship is a that is built and primarily intended for . Usually they belong to the of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faste ...

frigate
size or larger)


Fleet

The Royal Australian Navy consists of nearly 50 commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel. Ships commissioned into the RAN are given the prefix HMAS ( His/Her Majesty's Australian Ship). The RAN has two primary bases for its fleet: the first,
Fleet Base East The Fleet Base East is a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) major naval base, fleet base that comprises several naval establishments and facilities clustered around Port Jackson, Sydney Harbour, centred on HMAS Kuttabul (naval base), HMAS ''Kuttabul''. T ...
, is located at , Sydney and the second,
Fleet Base West HMAS ''Stirling'' is a Royal Australian Navy The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the navy, naval force of Australia. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate Colonial navies of Australia, colonia ...
, is located at , near Perth. In addition, three other bases are home to the majority of the RAN's minor war vessels: , in Cairns, , in Darwin, and , in Sydney.


Clearance Diving Branch

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 New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
; 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.


Personnel

As of June 2021, the RAN has 15,285 permanent full-time personnel, 161 gap year personnel, and 3,932 reserve personnel. The permanent full-time trained force consisted of 2,914 commissioned officers, and 10,056 enlisted personnel. In June 2021, male personnel made up 73% of the permanent full-time force, while female personnel made up 23%. The RAN has the second-highest percentage of women in the permanent forces, compared to the RAAF's 25.5% and the Army's 15.1%. The following are some of the current senior Royal Australian Navy officers: *
Vice Admiral Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer rank, equivalent to lieutenant general and air marshal. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral. In many navies,Vice admiral is a three-star rank in the navies of N ...
David Johnston David Lloyd Johnston (born June 28, 1941) is a Canadian academic, author, and statesman who served from 2010 to 2017 as Governor General of Canada, the List of Governors General of Canada#Governors General of Canada, 1867–present, 28th sinc ...
Vice Chief of the Defence Force The Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF) is the military deputy to the Chief of the Defence Force (Australia), Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) of Australia, and acts as the CDF in his absence under standing acting arrangements. Vice Admiral D ...
* Vice Admiral Michael NoonanChief of Navy *Vice Armidal Jonathan Mead - Chief Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce *
Rear Admiral Rear admiral is a senior naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for wa ...
Christopher Smith –
Deputy Chief of Navy The Deputy Chief of Navy (DCN) is the second most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of Navy (Australia), Chief of Navy (CN). The rank associated with the position is Rear admiral (Australia), rear admiral ( ...
* Rear Admiral Mark Hammond
Commander Australian Fleet Fleet Command is responsible for the command, operations, readiness, training and force generation of all ships, submarines, aircraft squadrons, diving teams, and shore establishments of the Royal Australian Navy. Fleet Command is headquartered a ...
*Rear Admiral Matthew Buckley - Head Nuclear-Powered Submarine Capability * Rear Admiral Peter Quinn – Head Navy Capability * Rear Admiral Kath Richards – Head Navy Engineering * Rear Admiral
Bruce Kafer Rear admiral, Rear Admiral Bruce Kafer, (born 1959) is a senior Royal Australian Navy officer and former Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy, a position he held from December 2009 until December 2013. Kafer served as the Director-G ...
– Director-General
Australian Navy Cadets Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens, nationality, nationals and individuals associated with the country of Australia. Between 1788 and the Second World War, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came ...

Australian Navy Cadets
and
Reserves Reserve or reserves may refer to: Places * Reserve, Kansas, a US city * Reserve, Louisiana, a census-designated place in St. John the Baptist Parish * Reserve, Montana, a census-designated place in Sheridan County * Reserve, New Mexico, a US vil ...
*
Commodore Commodore may refer to: Ranks * Commodore (rank) Commodore is a senior naval rank used in many navies which is equivalent to brigadier and air commodore that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. It is either regarded as ...
Brett Brace – Hydrographer of Australia *
Warrant Officer Warrant officer (WO) is a rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two ...

Warrant Officer
Deb Butterworth
Warrant Officer of the Navy Warrant Officer of the Navy (WO-N) is the most senior sailor in the Royal Australian Navy The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the navy, naval force of Australia. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the se ...


Ranks and uniforms

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

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 officer A flag officer is a Officer (armed forces), commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which the officer exercises command. The term is used differently in different countr ...
s, 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 officer Junior officer, company officer or company grade officer refers to the lowest operational commissioned officer An officer is a member of an Military, armed forces or Uniformed services, uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In i ...
s. All officers of the navy receive a
commission Commission or commissioning may refer to: Business and contracting * Commission (remuneration), a form of payment to an agent for services rendered ** Commission (art), the purchase or the creation of a piece of art most often on behalf of another ...
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 The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the Monarchy of Australia, monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, in Australia.Commander-in-Chief A commander-in-chief or supreme commander is the person who exercises supreme command and control Command and control is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ... hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men' ...
and the serving Minister for Defence. Naval officers are trained at the
Royal Australian Naval College The Royal Australian Naval College (RANC), commonly known as HMAS Creswell, is the naval academy A naval academy is a national institution that provides undergraduate-level education for prospective naval officers. Naval training commonly took p ...
(HMAS ''Creswell'') in
Jervis Bay Jervis Bay () is a oceanic bay and village on the south coast of New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a States and territories of Australia, state on the Eastern states of Australia, east coast of :Australia. It borders Q ...
and the
Australian Defence Force Academy The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is a tri-service military Academy that provides military and academic education for junior officers of the Australian Defence Force Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the ...
in Canberra.


Other ranks

Special ranks Royal Australian Navy Other Ranks wear "right arm rates" insignia, called "Category Insignia" to indicate speciality training qualifications. 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.


Special insignia

The
Warrant Officer of the Navy Warrant Officer of the Navy (WO-N) is the most senior sailor in the Royal Australian Navy The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the navy, naval force of Australia. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the se ...
(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 Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A) is the most senior Warrant Officer Warrant officer (WO) is a rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ra ...
(RSM-A) and the Royal Australian Air Force equivalent is the
Warrant Officer of the Air Force Warrant Officer of the Air Force (WOFF-AF) is the senior Warrant Officer Warrant officer (WO) is a rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking, s ...
(WOFF-AF).


Chaplains and Maritime Spiritual Wellbeing Officers (MSWOs)

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. From July 2020, Maritime Spiritual Wellbeing Officers (MSWOs) were introduced to the Navy Chaplaincy Branch, designed to give Navy people and their families with professional, non-religious pastoral care and spiritual support. RAN regulations group RAN Chaplains and MSWOs with commanders for purposes of protocol such as marks of respect (saluting); however, both workforces have no other rank other than the notional rank of "Chaplain" or "MSWO" respectively. From January 2021, MSWOs and all chaplains will wear the branch’s new non-faith-specific rank insignia of a fouled anchor overlaying a compass rose, which represents a united team front, encompassing all faiths and purpose. Senior Chaplains and MSWOs are grouped with captains, and Principal Chaplains and MSWOs are grouped with commodores, but their rank slide remains the same. Principal Chaplains and MSWOs, however, have gold braid on the peak of their white service cap.


Uniforms


Ships and equipment


Current ships

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.


Aviation


Small arms

RAN personnel utilise the following small arms: * EF88 Austeyr * F89A1 Minimi *
Browning Hi-Power The Browning Hi-Power is a Trigger (firearms)#Single-action, single-action, semi-automatic firearm, semi-automatic handgun available in the 9mm and .40 S&W calibers. It was based on a design by American firearms inventor John Browning, and compl ...
* * M2HB-QCB * *


Future

There are currently several major projects underway that will see upgrades to RAN capabilities: *''Project SEA 1180 Phase 1'' is building twelve s based on the
Lürssen Lürssen (or Lürssen Werft) is a German shipyard with headquarters in Bremen-Vegesack and shipbuilding facilities in Lemwerder, Berne and Bremen-Aumund. Image:Lürssen in Schacht-Audorf.jpg, Plant in Schacht-Audorf (Rendsburg) Lürssen designs ...

Lürssen
OPV80 design, to replace ''Armidale''-class patrol boats. Construction started in November 2018, with the first vessel, HMAS ''Arafura'' to enter service in 2022. *''Project SEA 1429 Phase 2'' is upgrading the s 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'' acquired two replenishment ships based on the Spanish ''Cantabria''-class oiler. HMAS ''Supply'' was launched in November 2018 and replaced , while the second, HMAS ''Stalwart'' replaced HMAS ''Sirius''. *''Project SEA 5000 Phase 1'' is acquiring nine s based on the British , 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 , 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 patrol boats had been ordered as a form of economic stimulus following the economic impact of the . The six ships are worth around $350 million and will be built by
Austal Austal is an Australian-based global ship building company and defence prime contractor that specialises in the design, construction and support of defence and commercial vessels. Austal's product range includes naval vessels, high-speed passenger ...
in
Henderson, Western Australia Henderson is a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, located within the City of Cockburn. History The suburb of Henderson comprises land resumed by the Commonwealth Government in 1915 for defence purposes. A large naval base was planned by Admiral ...
. *''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 The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the ...
announced their participation in the
AUKUS AUKUS (, ), also styled as Aukus, is a trilateral security pact between Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Aust ...
agreement during a joint press conference with
US President The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of ...

US President
Joe Biden Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. ( ; born November 20, 1942) is an American politician who is the 46th and current president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of th ...

Joe Biden
,
British Prime Minister The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), b ...
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and writer serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of govern ...

Boris Johnson
and Australian Prime Minister
Scott Morrison Scott John Morrison (; born 13 May 1968) is an Australian politician serving as the 30th and current prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either the highest ...

Scott Morrison
. Under the new agreement, the Royal Australian Navy will, for the first time, be able to build
nuclear submarine A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor. The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over "conventional" (typically Marine diesel engine, diesel-electric) submarines are considerable. Nuclear marine propulsion, Nuc ...
s with the assistance of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and the United Kingdom


Current operations

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.


See also

*
Australian Navy Cadets Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens, nationality, nationals and individuals associated with the country of Australia. Between 1788 and the Second World War, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came ...

Australian Navy Cadets
*
Australian White Ensign The Australian White Ensign (also known as the Australian Naval Ensign or the Royal Australian Navy Ensign) is a naval ensign used by ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from 1967 onwards. From the formation of the RAN until 1967, Australi ...
* Battle and theatre honours of the Royal Australian Navy *
Royal Australian Navy School of Underwater Medicine The Royal Australian Navy School of Underwater Medicine (RANSUM) is based at Sydney, Australia. Before 1961 medical support at the diving section of HMAS Watson, HMAS ''Watson'' was provided by the District Medical Officer, Surgeon Lieutenant C ...


References


Notes


Bibliography

* * * * * *


External links


Royal Australian Navy home page
*
Historical listing of RAN ships



Biographies of senior RAN officers

Royal and Dominion Navies in World War II, Campaigns, Battles, Warship losses

ADF Pay & Conditions Manual – Equivalent ranks and classifications
{{Authority control 1901 establishments in Australia Military units and formations established in 1901 Organisations based in Australia with royal patronage