Procurement programme of the Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy, although a significant force in the Asia-Pacific region, is nonetheless classed as a medium-sized navy. Its fleet is based around two main types of surface combatant, with limited global deployment and air power capability. However, in 2009, a white paper, Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030, was produced by the Australian government which set out a programme of defence spending that will see significant improvements to the RAN's fleet and capabilities.

Ships under construction

The following is a list of vessels currently under construction for the Royal Australian Navy:[1]

Class Ship Pennant No. Builder Displacement Type Commissioning Status
Hobart-class destroyer Sydney DDG 42 ASC, Osborne 7,000 tonnes Guided missile destroyer Late 2019 Sea trials
Supply-class replenishment oiler Supply A195 Navantia, Ferrol 19,500 tonnes Auxiliary oiler replenishment 2020 Launched[2]
Stalwart 2022 Keel laid
Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel Arafura ASC, Osborne 1,640 tonnes Offshore patrol vessel 2021 Keel laid

Surface combatants

Anzac-class frigate

HMAS Anzac F-150
Anzac-class frigate HMAS Anzac

The Anzac class is the latest major fleet type to enter service. The first unit was commissioned in 1996 and the last entered service in 2006. Starting in November 2003, all eight frigates underwent extensive upgrades under Project SEA 1448 Phase 2, the Anzac Ship Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade. Completed in two phases, the following systems were upgraded and installed:

  • Upgrade to the Saab Systems 9LV 453 Combat Management System.
  • Installation of a SAGEM Vampir NG Infra-Red Search and Track System capable of detecting anti-missile and low-flying aircraft near land.
  • Installation of an Australian CEAFAR S-band phased array radar and CEAMOUNT X-band multi-channel phased array missile illuminator to deliver enhanced target detection and better tracking, allowing Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles to engage multiple targets simultaneously.
  • Installation of an I-Band navigation radar to replace existing target indication and Krupp Atlas 9600 radar systems.

Final Operating Capability is scheduled for October 2017.[3][4][5] The vessels are expected to remain in service until 2032 where they will be replaced with up to nine frigates designed primarily for anti-submarine warfare.[6]

Hobart-class air warfare destroyer

HMAS Hobart December 2017
Hobart-class destroyer HMAS Hobart

The most significant project currently under construction for the RAN are three Hobart-class air warfare destroyers under construction in Adelaide, South Australia to replace the Adelaide-class frigates. Although the 2009 Defence White Paper and original contract suggested that a fourth ship may be ordered, the 2016 Defence White Paper concluded that only three would be built. Each destroyer will be fitted with the Aegis combat system and will be based on the F100 design by Spanish shipbuilding company Navantia. Each vessel will be fitted with cruise missiles and the SM-6 anti-aircraft missile. Hobart was commissioned on 23 September 2017, with the following vessels to be delivered in 2018 and 2019. The destroyers are being built by ASC Pty Ltd, although the project involves a significant amount of work sub-contracted to other companies and locations.[7] The destroyers are to be named Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney.

Hunter-class frigate

With the Anzac-class frigates due to begin retiring in the late 2020s, work on a replacement program has begun. The program is expected to cost AU$35 billion and a request for tender for the vessel design was released in March 2017 to three contenders: Navantia, Fincantieri, and BAE Systems as part of a competitive evaluation process. In June 2018, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that a variation of the BAE design had been selected as the preferred tender for the Hunter-class frigates.[8] Construction will begin in Adelaide, South Australia in 2020.[9] Australian shipbuilding company ASC will become a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia for the duration of the build.[10]

Amphibious warfare

HMAS Canberra RIMPAC 2016
HMAS Canberra in 2016

The RAN's amphibious capabilities was greatly increased by a new class of two Canberra-class amphibious vessels. These ships, based on Navantia's Strategic Projection Ship (later commissioned into the Spanish Navy as Spanish ship Juan Carlos I), displace approximately 27,000 tonnes, can transport 1,000 personnel and 150 vehicles, and can transport these ashore through landing craft carried in a well deck, or helicopters, with up to six operating simultaneously from each ship's flight deck. The new ships, named HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, their hulls were built at Navantia's shipyard in Spain, then transported to BAE Systems Australia (BAE acquired Tenix Defence after contract awarded) facilities at Williamstown,Victoria for finishing. The two ships replaced the Kanimbla-class amphibious vessels. HMAS Tobruk was to be replaced by a strategic sealift vessel of 10,000 to 15,000 tons displacement, which will provides the capacity to transport equipment, supplies, helicopters, and soldiers into zones of operation, and embark or disembark these without port facilities. .In the 2016 defence white paper it revealed that HMAS Choules would fulfill this role. Following the early decommissioning of both Kanimblas and Tobruk being out of action, multiple ships were purchased and or leased to cover the lack of amphibious capability. The RAN planned also replace the six Balikpapan-class heavy landing craft with six larger vessels. In mid-2011, the RAN acquired the former British Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship RFA Largs Bay, which entered service in December 2011 as HMAS Choules.

Minor vessels

HMAS Armidale Darling Harbour
The Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Armidale

Between 1999 and 2003, the RAN acquired six Huon-class minehunters.[11] Based on Intermarine SpA's Gaeta-class minehunters, each ship is equipped with a variable depth sonar, and a pair of Bofors Double Eagle underwater clearance vehicles.[11]

Up to the turn of the 21st century, the RAN's main patrol force was made up of the Fremantle class. However, these have been replaced by the new Armidale class. The first of these, HMAS Armidale, was commissioned in June 2005, and was the first of fourteen. These vessels are significantly more capable than the Fremantle class, and better equipped for a greater range of sea conditions.

The 2009 Defence White Paper announced that a new class of 20 offshore combatant vessels would replace the Armidale and Huon classes, along with the Leeuwin and Paluma-class survey ships.[12] The multi-role ships are predicted to displace anywhere up to 2,000 tonnes, and may be equipped with a helicopter or unmanned aerial vehicle.[12] However the 2016 Defense White Paper decreased the amount of planned vessels to twelve and stated that they would only replace the Armidales while the other classes would see life-extension work. Lurssen's OPV 80 design was chosen. The class was named Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV). The first ship will be named HMAS Arafura.

During the 2019 election campaign, Scott Morrison announced that one hydrographic survey ship and two minehunters would be constructed from the mid 2020s in the Henderson Shipyard Precinct Under SEA 1905 and SEA 2400.


HMAS Sheean, Fremantle
Collins-class submarine HMAS Sheean

The Collins-class submarines, the first of which entered service in 1996, are due to receive a major upgrade to their combat systems, with technology based on the US Navy's Virginia class. This new system will be introduced in conjunction with the new heavyweight torpedo.

In the longer term, the Collins-class submarines will begin to reach the end of their useful life in 2026.[13] To meet an in-service date of 2026, advanced design work on the next generation of Australian submarines will begin by 2014–2015. The submarines are likely to be Australian-built, conventional submarines equipped with air independent propulsion and advanced combat and communications systems.[14] Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon ordered planning to begin on the next generation of submarines to replace the Royal Australian Navy's Collins-class fleet. The 17-year project will be the largest, longest and most expensive defence acquisition since Australia's Federation, potentially costing up to $25 billion. The submarines are expected to be capable of carrying long-range cruise missiles and midget-subs.[15]

According to the 2009 Defence White Paper, the submarine fleet is to be expanded to 12. The submarines will be equipped with cruise missiles and the world's most advanced torpedoes, sonars, combat systems, intelligence gathering systems as well as also being able to support special forces operations. The first submarine is expected to be in service by 2030 with the decommissioning of HMAS Collins. The 2009 White Paper predicted the cost of the new submarines at $35 billion.

In 2018 , Naval Group's Shortfin Barracuda design was chosen as the design for the new vessels. It was announced that these vessels would be designated the Attack-class submarine with the first vessel being named HMAS Attack.

Afloat Support

The RAN currently has two ships used for afloat support/replenishment at sea; HMAS Sirius is a fleet oiler, with a limited dry stores capability, while HMAS Success is a general dry stores/fuel replenishment vessel. The navy has initiated a project that will ultimately see two new purpose built vessels enter service by 2020. Sirius was purchased second hand (double hulled to meet new international regulations) in 2005 as MT Delos and converted to replace HMAS Westralia in 2006. Then, as Sirius reaches the end of its service life around 2018, a new vessel will be purpose built. At around the same time (approximately 2015), a replacement for Success will be constructed.

The Minister of Defence confirmed in March 2016 that Navantia had been selected to build the next two replenishment vessels. The project is expected to cost anywhere between $1 and $2 billion. Navantia had offered Australia a design based on the Spanish Navy's current replenishment vessel Cantabria, which entered service in 2011.[16] The ships will be named HMAS Supply and HMAS Stalwart.[17] Supply was launched at Ferrol on 23 November 2018.[2]

Fleet Air Arm

MRH-90 August 2011
One of the RAN's MRH-90s in 2011

The Fleet Air Arm is currently an all rotary winged organisation. Previously 16 S-70B-2 Seahawks helicopters were the combat helicopters of the Air Arm. The Seahawks were being upgraded with FLIR and enhanced ECM, to improve both their surveillance and self-defence capabilities. In the 2009 Defence White Paper the Australian Government stated that it will urgently acquire at least 24 new naval combat helicopters.[18]

The Navy's Sea Kings, which have been in service for twenty years, will be replaced by MRH 90 helicopters modified for naval purposes by 2010. These aircraft were to be purchased as part a joint Army-Navy helicopter purchase.[19] All 6 have been delivered.

The 2009 Defence White Paper, Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030, stated that the RAN needed to replace its 16 Seahawk helicopters with at least 24 new helicopters by 2014. In June 2011 the Australian government announced the purchase of 24 MH-60R "Romeo" Seahawk helicopters as a replacement for the S-70-B2.All 24 have been delivered.

List of major current and future projects

(Updated to reflect changes made in the Defence Capability Plan – June 2011 Supplement)

  • JP 2048 – Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment program
    • Phase 3: LCM-8 replacement – Amphibious Watercraft Replacement
      • Spanish LCM-1E type selected and an order for 12 was made September 2011.[20][21]
    • Phase 4A: HMAS Tobruk replacement – HMAS Canberra
      • Hull launched 17 February 2011. In service since 2014.
    • Phase 4B: HMAS Kanimbla replacement – HMAS Adelaide
      • Keel laid down 18 February 2011, Hull launched 4 July 2012. In service since 2015
    • Phase 4C: HMAS Manoora replacement – Strategic Sea Lift capability
      • Budget for capability increased from $300–$500m to $1–$2b (Note: new budget is about the cost of an LHD)
    • Phase 5: Balikpapan-class landing craft replacement – 6 new LCH design
      • RFI assessment completed. RFP to be issued early 2012.[20]
      • As of 2019 no further developments.
  • JP 3030HMAS Choules procurement
    • Phase 1: Purchase complete.
      • Refit in Falmouth, UK completed, and vessel handed over to the Australian government. As of late November 2011, Choules was at sea on the delivery voyage with her arrival set for 10 December 2011 and her commissioning as HMAS Choules on 13 December 2011.
  • Sea 1000 – Design and Procurement of Future Submarine
    • Phase 1 & 2: Phase 1 (Design) and Phase 2 (Acquisition) has been combined. Decision not due until 2017–2020 or so.
  • Sea 1180Patrol Boat, Mine Hunter and Hydrographic Vessel Replacement Project
  • Sea 1360 – Maritime Extended Range Air Defence (Standard SM-6 for Hobart-class destroyer)
    • Phase 1: Project definition stage. Budget for capability reduced from $1–$2b to $500m-$1b.
  • Sea 1439 – Installation of new combat system for Collins-class submarines
    • Phase 4A: Replacement Combat System.
      • Currently underway, IOC has been achieved and FOC expected by 2013.
      • Replacement system is the same AN/BYG-1v8 system fitted to the Virginia-class SSN.
    • Phase 4B: Weapon & Sensor Enhancements.
      • Currently underway.
    • Phase 6: Sonar Replacement.
      • Given first-pass approval.
  • Sea 1448Anzac-class frigate capability upgrades
    • Phase 2B: Anzac-class Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade
      • HMAS Perth successfully completed trials of ASMD upgrade in July 2011.
      • The upgrade of the other seven Anzac-class frigates has been given government approval.[22] The upgrade is due to begin early 2012 and be complete by 2017.
    • Phase 4A: ES system improvement given first-pass approval.
    • Phase 4B: AN/SPS-49 (Air Search Radar) replacement budget increased from $100–$300m to $300–$500m.
  • Sea 1654 – Maritime Operational Support Capability
    • Phase 3: HMAS Success replacement
      • Keel laid for NUSHIP Supply on 18 November 2017, construction expected to be complete by 2020.
  • Sea 4000 – Design and procurement of new Air Warfare Destroyers
    • Phase 3: Acquisition and build of AWD
      • Construction of first of class (Hobart) underway but with slight schedule slip due to sub-contractor problems.
      • Testing of major systems on schedule. Delivery of some weapon systems and electronics.[23]
    • Phase 4: Acquisition of Maritime-based Strategic Strike (land-attack cruise missiles)
      • RFP to be issued 2014.
  • Sea 5000Future Frigate Program – (Anzac-class frigate replacement)
  • Air 9000 – Future Naval Aviation Combat System
    • Phase 6: Sea King replacement program
      • 6 MRH-90 to be operated. All Sea Kings to be retired by December 2011.
    • Phase 8: Seahawk/Super Seasprite replacement program.
      • Sikorsky MH-60R selected. 24 to be purchased.

A full listing of all current Projects is available at the Defence Materiel Organisation website.

Recently completed projects


  1. ^ "Future fleet oilers named". Navy Daily. Department of Defence (Australia). 17 November 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b Rahmat, Ridzwan (26 November 2018). "Navantia launches Australia's first replenishment vessel, begins work on second". Janes360. IHS Markit. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Anzac Ship Anti-Ship Missile Defence". Department of Defence (Australia). December 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  4. ^ Rahmat, Ridzwan (18 August 2016). "ANZAC frigate HMAS Toowoomba begins anti-ship missile defence upgrades". IHS Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Anzac Ship Anti-Ship Missile Defence". Department of Defence (Australia). December 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Anzac Class Frigate". Department of Defence (Australia). December 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  7. ^ Navy unveils $11b warship contract, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  8. ^ Taylor, Rob (28 June 2018). "Australia's $26 Billion Warship Deal Goes to Britain's BAE". The Wall Street Journal. Canberra, Australia. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Future Frigate". Department of Defence (Australia). September 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  10. ^ Tillett, Andrew (28 June 2018). "Rule Britannia as Malcolm Turnbull chooses UK design for $35b frigate contract". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b Saunders, Stephen, ed. (2008). Jane's Fighting Ships 2008–2009. Jane's Fighting Ships (111th ed.). Surrey: Jane's Information Group. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7106-2845-9. OCLC 225431774.
  12. ^ a b Department of Defence (2 May 2009). Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030. Commonwealth of Australia. pp. 72–3. ISBN 978-0-642-29702-0. OCLC 426475923.
  13. ^ "Australia's Future Underwater Warfare Capability – Project SM 2020". Submarine Institute of Australia. Archived from the original on 20 August 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2006.
  14. ^ Patrick Walters (2006). Cutting Edge: The Collins experance. Australian Security Policy Institute, Canberra. Pages 10–11.
  15. ^ Stuart, Cameron (26 December 2007). "Navy to get new lethal submarine fleet". The Australian. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007.
  16. ^ Grevatt, Jon (10 March 2016). "Australia selects Navantia for new replenishment ship". IHS Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  17. ^ Dominguez, Gabriel (17 November 2017). "Australia names future replenishment vessels". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  18. ^ Australian Government Defence White Paper 2009 page: 72
  19. ^ [1] Archived 27 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ a b Brown, Phill (30 June 2011). "Amphibious Deployment & Sustainment Program" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  21. ^ Clare, Jason (27 September 2011). "LHD Watercraft and Enhanced Joint Operations Centre Command and Control Capability Projects Approved". Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  22. ^ Clare, Jason (28 November 2011). "New Cutting Edge Missile Defence System for ANZAC Ships". Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  23. ^ Wavelength – ASC News (PDF). Australian Submarine Corporation. Winter. 2011 Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ Here comes the Hunter: BAE awarded $35bn SEA 5000 Future Frigate Contract Defence Connect 28 June 2018
Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force, called 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’s Australian Squadron was assigned to the Australia Station and provided support to the RAN. The Australian and New Zealand governments helped to fund the Australian Squadron until 1913, while the Admiralty committed itself to keeping the Squadron at a constant strength. The Australian Squadron ceased on 4 October 1913, when RAN ships entered Sydney Harbour for the first time.The Royal Navy continued to provide blue-water defence capability in the Pacific up to the early years of the Second World War. Then, rapid wartime expansion saw the acquisition of large surface vessels and the building of many smaller warships. In the decade following the war, the RAN acquired a small number of aircraft carriers, the last of which was decommissioned in 1982.

Today, the RAN consists of 48 commissioned vessels, 3 non-commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel. The navy is one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the South Pacific region, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean and worldwide operations in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions. The current Chief of Navy is Vice Admiral Michael Noonan.

Wallaby-class water and fuel lighter

The Wallaby-class water and fuel lighter is class of four Australian-built lighters which have supported the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) since 1981. The vessels were originally operated by the RAN, but were transferred to DMS Maritime after 1997.

Their main role is to transport diesel fuel and desalinated water and remove sullage and ballast waters for the RAN, though they can also be used to control oil spills.The Wallaby-class craft are scheduled to be disposed of other the next few years, with replacement water fuel lighters proposed by DMS Maritime.

Ships and

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