Royal Australian Navy
Overview
 
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 of the Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force
The Australian Defence Force is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and a number of 'tri-service' units...

. Following the Federation of Australia
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

 in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies
Colonial navies of Australia
Before Federation in 1901 five of the six separate colonies maintained their own naval forces for defence. The colonial navies were supported by the ships of the Royal Navy’s Australian Station which was established in 1859...

 were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces. Originally intended for local defence, the navy was granted the title of 'Royal Australian Navy' in 1911, and became increasingly responsible for defence of the region.

Britain's Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 continued to support the RAN and provide additional blue-water
Blue-water navy
The term blue-water navy is a colloquialism used to describe a maritime force capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans. While what actually constitutes such a force remains undefined, there is a requirement for the ability to exercise sea control at wide ranges...

 defence capability in the Pacific up to the early years of World War II.
Encyclopedia
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 of the Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force
The Australian Defence Force is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and a number of 'tri-service' units...

. Following the Federation of Australia
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

 in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies
Colonial navies of Australia
Before Federation in 1901 five of the six separate colonies maintained their own naval forces for defence. The colonial navies were supported by the ships of the Royal Navy’s Australian Station which was established in 1859...

 were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces. Originally intended for local defence, the navy was granted the title of 'Royal Australian Navy' in 1911, and became increasingly responsible for defence of the region.

Britain's Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 continued to support the RAN and provide additional blue-water
Blue-water navy
The term blue-water navy is a colloquialism used to describe a maritime force capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans. While what actually constitutes such a force remains undefined, there is a requirement for the ability to exercise sea control at wide ranges...

 defence capability in the Pacific up to the early years of World War II. 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 these paying off in 1982.

Today, the RAN consists of 53 vessels and over 16,000 personnel. The navy is one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the Pacific region
Pacific Rim
The Pacific Rim refers to places around the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The term "Pacific Basin" includes the Pacific Rim and islands in the Pacific Ocean...

, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean and worldwide operations in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions. The current Chief of Navy
Chief of Navy (Australia)
The Chief of Navy is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary of Defence...

 is Vice Admiral Ray Griggs
Ray Griggs (admiral)
Vice Admiral Raymond James "Ray" Griggs AM, CSC, RAN is a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy and has been the Chief of Navy since 7 June 2011.-Early career:...

.

History

The Commonwealth Naval Forces were established on 1 March 1901, two months after the federation of Australia
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

. On 10 July 1911, King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 granted the title of 'Royal Australian Navy'.

During World War I, the RAN was initially responsible for capturing many of Germany's South Pacific colonies and protecting Australian shipping from the German East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...

. Later in the war, most of the RAN's major ships operated as part of Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 forces in the Mediterranean and North Seas.

During the 1920s and early 1930s, the RAN was drastically reduced in size. As international tensions increased, however, the RAN was modernised and expanded. Early in World War II, RAN ships again operated as part of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, many serving with distinction in the Mediterranean
Battle of the Mediterranean
The Battle of the Mediterranean was the name given to the naval campaign fought in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II, from 10 June 1940-2 May 1945....

, the Red Sea
East African Campaign (World War II)
The East African Campaign was a series of battles fought in East Africa during World War II by the British Empire, the British Commonwealth of Nations and several allies against the forces of Italy from June 1940 to November 1941....

, the West African coast
Battle of Dakar
The Battle of Dakar, also known as Operation Menace, was an unsuccessful attempt in September 1940 by the Allies to capture the strategic port of Dakar in French West Africa , which was under Vichy French control, and to install the Free French under General Charles de Gaulle there.-Background:At...

, the Persian Gulf
Anglo-Iraqi War
The Anglo-Iraqi War was the name of the British campaign against the rebel government of Rashid Ali in the Kingdom of Iraq during the Second World War. The war lasted from 2 May to 31 May 1941. The campaign resulted in the re-occupation of Iraq by British armed forces and the return to power of the...

, and the Indian Ocean
Battle of Madagascar
The Battle of Madagascar was the Allied campaign to capture Vichy-French-controlled Madagascar during World War II. It began on 5 May 1942. Fighting did not cease until 6 November.-Geo-political:...

. Following the outbreak of the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 and the virtual destruction of the Royal Navy force in Asia, the RAN operated more independently, or as part of United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 forces. By war's end, the RAN was the fifth-largest navy in the world.

After World War II, the size of the RAN was again reduced, but it gained new capabilities with the delivery of two aircraft carriers. The RAN saw action in many Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

-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 and has become a critical element in Australian operations in East Timor
INTERFET
The International Force for East Timor was a multinational peacekeeping taskforce, mandated by the United Nations to address the humanitarian and security crisis which took place in East Timor from 1999–2000 until the arrival of United Nations peacekeepers...

 and the Solomon Islands.

RAN today

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
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

. The professional head is the Chief of Navy
Chief of Navy (Australia)
The Chief of Navy is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary of Defence...

 (CN), who holds the rank of Vice-Admiral. NHQ is responsible for implementing policy decisions handed down from the Department of Defence
Department of Defence (Australia)
The Australian Department of Defence is a Federal Government Department. It forms part of the Australian Defence Organisation along with the Australian Defence Force . The Defence mission is to defend Australia and its national interests...

 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
    Commander Australian Fleet
    Commander Australian Fleet , also referred to as Fleet Commander Australia , is a senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy , holding full command of all Navy combat forces and responsibility for all maritime operations within the Australian Defence Force...

     (COMAUSFLT). COMAUSFLT holds the rank of Rear Admiral
    Rear Admiral
    Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

    ; 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 Flotillas (COMFLOT), 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 (rank)
    Commodore is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent .It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always...

    ; in June 2008, the position was upgraded to the rank of Rear Admiral
    Rear Admiral
    Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

    .


Fleet Command was previously made up of seven Force Element Group
Force Element Group
The Force Element Groups of the Australian Defence Force are the operational capabilities.Each of the component commands has a set of FEGs. The FEG operational commanders report to the component commanders , who in turn report to the operation's Task Force commander...

s, but after the New Generation Navy changes, this was restructured into four Force Commands::
  • Surface Force, covering the RAN's surface combatants (generally ships of frigate
    Frigate
    A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

     size or larger)
  • Submarine Force
    Royal Australian Navy Submarine Service
    The Royal Australian Navy Submarine Service is the collective name of the submarine element of the Royal Australian Navy. The service currently forms the Navy's Submarine Force Element Group and consists of six Collins class submarines....

    , operating the Collins class submarines
    Collins class submarine
    The Collins class is a class of six Australian-built diesel-electric submarines operated by the Royal Australian Navy . The Collins class takes its name from Australian Vice Admiral John Augustine Collins; all six submarines are named after significant RAN personnel who distinguished themselves in...

  • Mine Warfare, Hydrographic and Patrol Boat Force, an amalgamation of the previous Patrol Boat
    Australian Patrol Boat Group
    The Australian Patrol Boat Group is a Force Element Group of the Royal Australian Navy. The group's mission is to provide patrol boat capability for the protection of Australia's national interests....

    , Hydrographic
    Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Service
    The Australian Hydrographic Service is the Australian Commonwealth Government agency responsible for providing hydrographic services that meet Australia's obligations under the SOLAS convention and the national interest; enabling safe navigation, maritime trade and supporting protection of the...

    , and Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Forces, operating what are collectively termed the RAN's "minor war vessels"
  • Fleet Air Arm
    Fleet Air Arm (RAN)
    The Fleet Air Arm , known formally as the Australian Navy Aviation Group, is the division of the Royal Australian Navy responsible for the operation of aircraft. The FAA was founded in 1947 following the purchase of two aircraft carriers from the Royal Navy...

    , responsible for the navy's aviation assets

Fleet

As of 2011, the RAN fleet consisted of 53 vessels, including frigates, submarines, patrol boats and auxiliary ships. Ships commissioned into the RAN are given the prefix HMAS (His/Her Majesty's Australian Ship
Her Majesty's Australian Ship
Her or His Majesty's Australian Ship is a ship prefix used for commissioned units of the Royal Australian Navy. This prefix is derived from HMS , the prefix used by the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, and can be equally applied to warships and shore bases Her or His Majesty's Australian Ship...

).

The RAN has two primary bases for its fleet:
  • Fleet Base East, located at , Sydney; and
  • Fleet Base West, located at , near Perth.


In addition, three other bases are home to the majority of the RAN's minor war vessels:, at Darwin;, at Cairns; and, at Sydney.

Current ships

The RAN currently operates 53 commissioned vessels, made up of eight ship classes, and three individual ships.
Image Class/Name Type Number Entered service Details
Anzac class
Anzac class frigate
The Anzac class is a ship class of ten frigates; eight operated by the Royal Australian Navy and two operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy...

 
Frigate 8 1996 Anti-submarine and anti-aircraft frigate with 1 S-70B-2 Seahawk
SH-60 Seahawk
The Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission United States Navy helicopter based on the United States Army UH-60 Black Hawk and a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family. The most significant airframe modification is a hinged tail to reduce its footprint aboard ships.The...

 helicopter. Two more were built for the Royal New Zealand Navy
Royal New Zealand Navy
The Royal New Zealand Navy is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

.
Adelaide class
Adelaide class frigate
The Adelaide class is a ship class of six guided missile frigates constructed in Australia and the United States of America for service in the Royal Australian Navy. The class is based on the United States Navy's Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates, but modified for Australian requirements...

 
Frigate 4 1985 Anti-submarine and anti-aircraft frigate with 2 Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk
SH-60 Seahawk
The Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission United States Navy helicopter based on the United States Army UH-60 Black Hawk and a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family. The most significant airframe modification is a hinged tail to reduce its footprint aboard ships.The...

 helicopters. Two more ships were decommissioned in 2005 and 2008.
Armidale class
Armidale class patrol boat
The Armidale class is a class of patrol boats built for the Royal Australian Navy . Planning for a class of twelve vessels to replace the fifteen Fremantle class patrol boats began in 1993 as a joint project with the Royal Malaysian Navy, but was cancelled when Malaysia pulled out of the process...

Patrol boat 14 2005 Coastal defence, maritime border, and fishery protection
Huon class
Huon class minehunter
The Huon class Minehunter Coastal ships are a group of minehunters built for the Royal Australian Navy . Following problems with the Bay class minehunters, a request for tender was issued in 1993 for a class of six coastal minehunters under the project designation SEA 1555...

 
Minehunter 6 1997 Minehunting
Collins class
Collins class submarine
The Collins class is a class of six Australian-built diesel-electric submarines operated by the Royal Australian Navy . The Collins class takes its name from Australian Vice Admiral John Augustine Collins; all six submarines are named after significant RAN personnel who distinguished themselves in...

 
Submarine 6 2000 Anti-shipping, intelligence collection. Diesel-electric powered.
Balikpapan class  Landing Craft Heavy 6 1971 Light lift amphibious transport. Two more were transferred to the fledgling Papua New Guinea Defence Force in 1975.
Leeuwin class
Leeuwin class survey vessel
The Leeuwin class is a class of two hydrographic survey vessels in the Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Leeuwin and HMAS Melville. Both ships were built by NQEA in Cairns, Queensland, and entered service in 2000....

 
Survey ship 2 2000 Hydrographic survey
Paluma class
Paluma class survey motor launch
The Paluma class survey motor launch is a class of four hydrographic survey launches operated by the Royal Australian Navy . Built in Port Adelaide between 1988 and 1990, the four catamarans are primarily based at in Cairns, Queensland, and operate in pairs to survey the waters of northern...

 
Survey launch 4 1989 Hydrographic survey
Landing Ship Heavy 1989 Heavy sealift and transport. Modified Round Table class.
Replenishment ship 1986 Replenishment at sea and afloat support. Modified Durance class
Durance class tanker
The Durance class is a series of multi-product replenishment oilers, originally designed and built for service in the French Navy. Besides the five ships built for the French Navy, a sixth was built for the Royal Australian Navy, while the lead ship of the class currently serves with the Argentine...

.
Replenishment ship 2006 Replenishment at sea and afloat support. Modified commercial tanker.

Fleet Air Arm

The Australian Navy Aviation Group (known informally as the Fleet Air Arm) provides the RAN's aviation capability. As of 2011, the FAA consists of three active squadrons, operating four helicopter types in the anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

 and maritime support roles. The Fleet Air Arm is based at in Nowra, New South Wales
Nowra, New South Wales
Nowra is a city in the South Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. Located SSW and approximately by road south of the state capital of Sydney, it has an estimated population together with its twin-town of Bomaderry of 34,479. It is also the seat and commercial centre of the City of Shoalhaven...

, and operates from the RAN's frigates, large amphibious warfare vessels, and large support ships.

Clearance Diving Teams


The RAN has two Clearance Diving Teams 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
    New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

    ; and
  • Clearance Diving Team 4 (AUSCDT FOUR), based at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.

When RAN personnel 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.

Future

There are currently several major projects underway that will see upgrades to RAN capabilities:
  • Project AIR 9000 Phase 8 is a project to replace the RAN's Seahawk (and canceled Seasprite) helicopters with 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.
  • Project JP 2048 Phases 4A and 4B is a project to build two Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious ships (based on the Spanish Buque de Proyección Estratégica). These will be the largest RAN warships ever commissioned and will replace HMAS Tobruk and a Kanimbla class
    Kanimbla class landing platform amphibious
    The Kanimbla class is a class of amphibious transport ships operated by the Royal Australian Navy . Two ships were purchased by Australia in 1994 and modified...

     vessel. The project is on schedule for the vessels to be accepted in January 2014 and August 2015 .
  • Project JP 2048 Phase 3 will provide six Heavy Landing Craft to replace the RAN's Balikpapan-class vessels. The project is planned to deliver capability in 2014–2016.
  • Project SEA 1390 Phase 2.1 will see the upgrading of four Adelaide-class guided missile frigates with enhanced weapons and electronics.
  • Project SEA 1429 will upgrade the Collins-class submarines with state-of-the-art heavyweight torpedoes.
  • Project SEA 1439 Phase 4A will equip the Collins-class submarines with a new tactical combat system.
  • Project SEA 1654 Phase 3 is a project to acquire a Sea Logistic Support and Replenishment Support vessel to replace the supply ship HMAS Success.
  • Project SEA 4000, under which the RAN will acquire three Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers, built around the United States Navy Aegis air and surface combat management system
    Aegis combat system
    The Aegis Combat System is an integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin...

    . The vessels are be based on the Spanish Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate
    Álvaro de Bazán class frigate
    The Álvaro de Bazán class are a new class of Aegis combat system-equipped air defense frigates entering service with the Spanish Navy...

    . The project is on schedule to deliver the first ship, , in December 2014. and are due to be delivered in March 2016 and June 2017 respectively.


To boost the RAN's amphibious capability until the arrival of the Canberra class LHDs, the RAN purchased Largs Bay
RFA Largs Bay (L3006)
RFA Largs Bay is a Bay class landing ship dock that served with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary from 2006 to 2011. The vessel was built by Swan Hunter in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear. She was named after Largs Bay in Ayrshire, Scotland, and entered service in 2006...

 from the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the British Ministry of Defence. The RFA enables ships of the United Kingdom Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world. Its primary role is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel, ammunition and supplies, normally by replenishment...

 in April 2011 for £65 million. It is expected to be delivered in late 2011 and later commissioned as HMAS Choules.

The RAN needs 2,000 recruits, including 700 apprentices, to crew the next generation of warships, such as air warfare destroyers, which enter service next decade.

Future procurement plans include:
  • twelve Future Submarines
    Collins class submarine replacement project
    The Collins class submarine replacement project is a Royal Australian Navy effort to replace the Navy's six Collins class submarines with 12 new Australian designed submarines from 2025...

    , under Project SEA 1000, to replace the Collins-class (up to 4,000 tons, equipped with cruise missiles and minisubs);
  • eight Future Frigates to replace the Anzac-class frigates (possibly up to 7,000 tons and equipped with cruise missiles);
  • twenty Offshore Combatant Vessels
    Planned Australian offshore combatant vessel
    The Offshore Combatant Vessel is a planned multipurpose small warship class for the Royal Australian Navy . Through the use of modular mission packages, the ships will be capable of operating in multiple roles, primarily border patrol, mine warfare, and hydrographic survey...

    , under Project SEA 1180, to replace the Armidale, Huon, Leeuwin, and Paluma classes (up to 2000 tons); and
  • one Strategic Sealift Vessel to replace the second Kanimbla-class ship (~15,000 tons, similar to the Spanish Galicia-class landing platform dock
    Galicia class landing platform dock
    The Galicia class is a class of two 13,900 t landing platform dock ships, belonging to the Spanish Navy. Built in Ferrol, their mission is to carry amphibious warfare by transporting the bulk of the Infantería de Marina....

    ).


In order to pay for this new equipment, the service is making cuts in other areas, such as meals for the sailors.

Current operations

The RAN currently has forces deployed on three major operations:
  • Operation Anode – Australia's contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands.
  • Operation Slipper
    Operation Slipper
    Operation Slipper is the Australian Defence Force contribution to the war in Afghanistan. The operation commenced in late 2001 and is ongoing...

     – Australia's commitment to the International Coalition forces in Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

     and against Terrorism (ICAT). The RAN's contribution is normally one ship in the Persian Gulf
    Persian Gulf
    The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

    .
  • Operation Resolute
    Operation Resolute
    Operation Resolute is the Australian Defence Force's contribution to patrolling Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. Operation Resolute began on 17 July 2006 and consolidated a number of previous ADF operations, including Operation Relex....

     – the ADF's contribution to patrolling Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone
    Exclusive Economic Zone
    Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

    . The RAN's contribution to Resolute is at least seven Armidale class patrol boats, plus a large surface combatant on standby.


In late 2010, as part of cost-saving measures, the RAN has ordered ships to reduce operating speeds and cut time at sea.

Personnel

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. As of June 2010 male personnel make up 82% of the permanent full time force, while female personnel make 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 is the current senior Royal Australian Navy Officers;
  • Vice Admiral
    Vice Admiral (Australia)
    Vice admiral is the second-highest active rank of the Royal Australian Navy and was created as a direct equivalent of the British rank of vice admiral. It is a three-star rank...

     Ray Griggs
    Ray Griggs (admiral)
    Vice Admiral Raymond James "Ray" Griggs AM, CSC, RAN is a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy and has been the Chief of Navy since 7 June 2011.-Early career:...

    , AM, CSC
    Conspicuous Service Cross (Australia)
    The Conspicuous Service Cross is a decoration of the Australian Honours System. The CSC is awarded only for outstanding devotion to duty, or outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgment or dedication, in non-warlike situations...

    , RAN - Chief of Navy
    Chief of Navy (Australia)
    The Chief of Navy is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary of Defence...

  • Rear Admiral Trevor Jones
    Trevor Jones (admiral)
    Rear Admiral Trevor Norman Jones AM, CSC, RAN is the current Deputy Chief of Navy of the Royal Australian Navy.-Service history:Rear Admiral Trevor Jones, AM, CSC, RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1978 under the Navy scholarship scheme to pursue a Seaman Officer Career...

    , AM, CSC
    Conspicuous Service Cross (Australia)
    The Conspicuous Service Cross is a decoration of the Australian Honours System. The CSC is awarded only for outstanding devotion to duty, or outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgment or dedication, in non-warlike situations...

    , RAN - Deputy Chief of Navy
    Deputy Chief of Navy (Australia)
    The Deputy Chief of Navy is the second most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of Navy . The rank associated with the position is Rear Admiral ....

  • Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore
    Steve Gilmore
    Rear Admiral Stephen 'Steve' Richard Gilmore AM, CSC, RAN is the current COMAUSFLT of the Royal Australian Navy.-Service history:Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore, AM, CSC, RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy as a junior entry Cadet Midshipman in 1977...

    , AM, CSC
    Conspicuous Service Cross (Australia)
    The Conspicuous Service Cross is a decoration of the Australian Honours System. The CSC is awarded only for outstanding devotion to duty, or outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgment or dedication, in non-warlike situations...

    , RAN - Commander Australian Fleet
    Commander Australian Fleet
    Commander Australian Fleet , also referred to as Fleet Commander Australia , is a senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy , holding full command of all Navy combat forces and responsibility for all maritime operations within the Australian Defence Force...

  • Rear Admiral Michael Uzzell, AM, RAN - Head Navy Engineering
  • Warrant Officer of the Navy
    Warrant Officer of the Navy
    Warrant Officer of the Navy is the most senior non commissioned officer rank in the Royal Australian Navy and is also a singular rank. That is, it is only held by one person at any time. The insignia for a WO-N is the Australian coat of arms with a wreath around it...

     Mark Tandy, CSC
    Conspicuous Service Cross (Australia)
    The Conspicuous Service Cross is a decoration of the Australian Honours System. The CSC is awarded only for outstanding devotion to duty, or outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgment or dedication, in non-warlike situations...

     - Warrant Officer of the Navy
    Warrant Officer of the Navy
    Warrant Officer of the Navy is the most senior non commissioned officer rank in the Royal Australian Navy and is also a singular rank. That is, it is only held by one person at any time. The insignia for a WO-N is the Australian coat of arms with a wreath around it...


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, currently being held by HRH 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-7 (Commodore) to O-11 (Admiral of the Fleet) are referred to as flag officer
Flag Officer
A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark where the officer exercises command. The term usually refers to the senior officers in an English-speaking nation's navy, specifically those who hold any of the admiral ranks; in...

s, O-4 (Lieutenant-Commander) to O-6 (Captain(N)) are referred to as senior officers, while S-1 (Midshipman) to O-3 (Lieutenant) are referred to as junior officer
Junior officer
The term junior officer is sometimes used to make clear that an officer in a military or paramilitary unit is not in overall command. The term senior officer is reserved for the officer in overall command....

s. Naval Cadets are referred to as subordinate officer
Subordinate officer
Subordinate officer is a term used in some armed forces for a grade of officer above a non-commissioned officer but still not actually commissioned, usually still in training...

s. All officers of the Navy receive a commission from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia. The Commissioning Scroll issued in recognition of the commission is signed by the Governor General of Australia as Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 and the serving Minister for Defence.

Naval officers are trained at the Royal Australian Naval College (HMAS Creswell) in Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay is a large bay bounded by the state of New South Wales, the Jervis Bay Territory, and a detached enclave of the Australian Capital Territory. HMAS Creswell is located between Jervis Bay Village and Greenpatch in the Jervis Bay Territory.-History:...

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 and the Australian Defence Force Academy
Australian Defence Force Academy
The Australian Defence Force Academy is a tri-service military Academy that provides military and tertiary academic education for junior officers of the Australian Defence Force in the Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force .Tertiary education is provided by the...

 in Canberra.
Commissioned Officer Rank Structure of the Royal Australian Navy
Admiral of the Fleet Admiral
Admiral (Australia)
Admiral is the highest active rank of the Royal Australian Navy and was created as a direct equivalent of the British Navy rank of Admiral. It is a four-star rank. Since World War II, in general, the only time the rank is held is when the Chief of the Defence Force is a Navy officer.Admiral is a...

Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral (Australia)
Vice admiral is the second-highest active rank of the Royal Australian Navy and was created as a direct equivalent of the British rank of vice admiral. It is a three-star rank...

Rear Admiral Commodore
Commodore (rank)
Commodore is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent .It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always...

Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

O-11 O-10 O-9 O-8 O-7 O-6
AF ADML VADM RADM CDRE CAPT
Commander Lieutenant-Commander Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant is a military rank. It is normally a junior officer rank.In many navies, a sub-lieutenant is a naval commissioned or subordinate officer, ranking below a lieutenant. In the Royal Navy the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the British Army and of...

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Midshipman
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

Officer Cadet
O-5 O-4 O-3 O-2 O-1 S-1 Cadet
CMDR LCDR LEUT SBLT ASLT MIDN OC

Non-commissioned ranks

CODE
Ranks and insignia of NATO
Ranks and insignia of NATO are combined military insignia used by the member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.The rank scale is used for specifying posts within NATO.-Definitions:...

   
Warrant Officers
E-9 Warrant Officer of the Navy
Warrant Officer of the Navy
Warrant Officer of the Navy is the most senior non commissioned officer rank in the Royal Australian Navy and is also a singular rank. That is, it is only held by one person at any time. The insignia for a WO-N is the Australian coat of arms with a wreath around it...

E-9 Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

Senior Non-commissioned Officers
E-8 Chief Petty Officer
Chief Petty Officer
A chief petty officer is a senior non-commissioned officer in many navies and coast guards.-Canada:"Chief Petty Officer" refers to two ranks in the Canadian Navy...

E-7
E-6 Petty Officer
Petty Officer
A petty officer is a non-commissioned officer in many navies and is given the NATO rank denotion OR-6. They are equal in rank to sergeant, British Army and Royal Air Force. A Petty Officer is superior in rank to Leading Rate and subordinate to Chief Petty Officer, in the case of the British Armed...

Junior Non-commissioned Officers
E-5 Leading Seaman
Leading Seaman
Leading seaman is a junior non-commissioned rank or rate in navies, particularly those of the Commonwealth. When it is used by NATO nations, leading seaman has the rank code of OR-4. It is often equivalent to the army and air force rank of corporal and some navies use corporal rather than...

E-4
Enlisted
E-3 Able Seaman
Able Seaman (rank)
In the British Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term able seaman referred to a seaman with at least two years' experience at sea...

E-2 Seaman
Seaman
Seaman is one of the lowest ranks in a Navy. In the Commonwealth it is the lowest rank in the Navy, followed by Able Seaman and Leading Seaman, and followed by the Petty Officer ranks....


Chaplains

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) chaplains
Military chaplain
A military chaplain is a chaplain who ministers to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and other members of the military. In many countries, chaplains also minister to the family members of military personnel, to civilian noncombatants working for military organizations and to civilians within the...

 are commissioned officers and wear the uniform of a RAN officer. Like chaplains in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 (RN), they do not wear rank insignia, but instead wear epaulettes with a cross-and-anchor insignia. Like other chaplains in the Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force
The Australian Defence Force is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and a number of 'tri-service' units...

 (ADF), Navy chaplains have five divisions of seniority. Australian Navy chaplains are accorded a certain rank for protocol and ceremonial occasions and for saluting purposes. Division 1, 2 and 3 Australian Navy chaplains are accorded the rank and status as Commander
Commander
Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

 (equivalent of Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 in the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

). Division 4 Australian Navy chaplains are accorded the rank and status of Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 (equivalent of Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

). Division 5 Australian Navy chaplains are "Principal Chaplains," and these three chaplains, representing the three major Christian denominations: Catholic, Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 and Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

, are accorded the rank and status of Commodore
Commodore (rank)
Commodore is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent .It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always...

 (equivalent of Brigadier
Brigadier
Brigadier is a senior military rank, the meaning of which is somewhat different in different military services. The brigadier rank is generally superior to the rank of colonel, and subordinate to major general....

). Principal Chaplains' uniforms do not differ from other Navy chaplains however they do wear gold braid on the peak of their caps. The title "Padre
Military chaplain
A military chaplain is a chaplain who ministers to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and other members of the military. In many countries, chaplains also minister to the family members of military personnel, to civilian noncombatants working for military organizations and to civilians within the...

" for chaplains is less common in the Royal Australian Navy, than in the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

, although it is known to be used by many sailors and some Navy chaplains in preference to the more formal title of "Chaplain", or other formal forms of address towards an officer such as "Sir."

External links

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