Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the navy of Australia. It is part of the Australian Defence Force. It was created in 1901, and was formed out of the Commonwealth Naval Forces to become the small navy of Australia. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom continued to defend Australia in the Pacific Ocean until World War II, when the RAN became much bigger and modern, adding many ships including aircraft carriers.
Today the RAN is one of the largest naval forces in the Pacific region and the Indian Ocean. As of December 2011, the RAN fleet consisted of 54 vessels. This includes frigates, submarines, patrol boats and auxiliary ships. Ships commissioned into the RAN are given the prefix "Her Majesty's Australian ships" (Or HMAS for short), because by constitution the Queen owns them and has command over them.
The head of the Royal Australian Navy is the Monarch presently Queen Elizabeth II. The professional head of the force is the Chief of the Navy who holds the rank Vice-Admiral. The present Chief is Vice-Admiral Ray Griggs. He was appointed in 2011. The Navy is ran by the Department of Defence and the Naval Headquarters (NHQ). Beneath NHQ are two subordinate commands:
- Fleet Command – fleet command is led by Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT). COMAUSFLT holds the rank of Rear Admiral; previously, this post was Flag Officer Commanding HM's Australian Fleet (FOCAF), created in 1911, but the title was changed in 1988 to the Maritime Commander Australia. On 1 February 2007, the title changed again, becoming Commander Australian Fleet. The nominated at-sea commander is Commodore 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; in June 2008, the position was upgraded to the rank of Rear Admiral.
Fleet Command was previously made up of seven Force Element Groups. Due to changes it was made into four Force Commands:
- Surface Force, covering the RAN's surface combatants (generally ships of frigate size or larger)
- Submarine Force, operating the Collins class submarines
- Mine Warfare, Hydrographic and Patrol Boat Force, an amalgamation of the previous Patrol Boat, Hydrographic, and Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Forces, operating what are collectively termed the RAN's "minor war vessels"
- Fleet Air Arm, responsible for the navy's aviation assets
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 – Australia's commitment to the International Coalition forces in Afghanistan and against Terrorism (ICAT). The RAN's contribution is normally one ship in the Persian Gulf.
- Operation Resolute – the ADF's contribution to patrolling Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. The RAN's contribution to Resolute is at least seven Armidale class patrol boats, plus a large surface combatant on standby.
The RAN has two primary bases for its fleet:
- Fleet Base East, located at HMAS Kuttabul, Sydney
- Fleet Base West, located at HMAS Stirling, near Perth.
In addition, three other bases are home to the smaller warships (e.g. Patrol boats):
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%.
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- Royal Australian Navy home page
- 'Virtual Fleet' Archived 2008-09-05 at the Wayback Machine - on-line computer based 'tour' of ships and aircraft
- Maritimequest Royal Australian Navy photo gallery
- Official Biographies:
- Royal and Dominion Navies in World War II, Campaigns, Battles, Warship losses
- Royal and Dominion Navies, Victoria Cross at Sea, 1940-45