Royal Australian Navy


The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Established in 1901, the RAN is Australia’s senior Service, formed out of the Commonwealth Naval Forces to become the navy of Australia after Federation. Today, the RAN is one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the Pacific region, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean.

The RAN continues a high operational tempo in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions worldwide.

On the personnel front, the New Generation Navy (NGN) program was established in 2009 under a Chief of Navy Directive to address the Culture, Leadership and Structural changes required for Navy to meet the challenges of delivering future capability.

NGN represents the energy and commitment of Navy’s people in creating an environment where people are empowered to perform at their best; where Navy – as a warfighting force – is trusted to defend Australia and its interests by being ready to fight and win at sea.

The Commonwealth Naval Forces were established on 1 March 1901, two months after Federation. On 10 July 1911, King George V granted the title of ‘Royal Australian Navy’.

– Surface Force, covering the RAN’s surface combatants (generally the RAN fleet includes destroyers, frigates, submarines, patrol boats and auxiliary ships.

The RAN today is tasked with the ability to defend Australian waters and undertake wider deployments.

The RAN has two primary bases for its fleet: Fleet Base East located at HMAS Kuttabul near Sydney, and Fleet Base West, located at HMAS Stirling near Perth. There are three other ports, which are home to the majority of the RAN’s minor war vessels: HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin, HMAS Cairns in Cairns, HMAS Waterhen in Sydney.

The Royal Australian Navy consists of nearly 50 commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel, one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the Pacific region, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean and worldwide operations in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions.

The main strength lies in twelve frigates of the surface combatant force: eight Anzac class and three Adelaide class, with three Air Warfare Destroyers currently under construction, with the first ship (HMAS Hobart undergoing sea trials from August 2016).

Six Collins-class boats make up the submarine service. Amphibious warfare assets include the Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ships, and the landing ship HMAS Choules. Thirteen Armidale-class patrol boats perform coastal and economic exclusion zone patrols, and four Huon-class vessels are used for minehunting and clearance. Replenishment at sea is provided by two ships, Sirius and Success, while the two Leeuwin-class and four Paluma-class vessels perform survey and charting duties.

The lion’s share of the RAN fleet is divided between Fleet Base East (HMAS Kuttabul, in Sydney) and Fleet Base West (HMAS Stirling, near Perth). Mine warfare assets are located at HMAS Waterhen (also in Sydney), while HMAS Cairns in Cairns and HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin host the navy’s patrol and survey vessels. The RAN maintains a readiness to deploy overseas in response to Australian Government tasking, to support coalition operations and humanitarian assist activities.


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