1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
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Contents >> Defence >> Capabilities


The changing strategic environment highlights the need for the ADF to be a flexible and adaptable defence force, which is ready to be deployed at short notice and can be sustained on operations for as long as required. Capability is the power to achieve a desired effect in a nominated environment in a specified period of time, and to sustain it for a designated period.

Defence maintains a force structure with the following elements:

    • a surface combatant force of five Adelaide-class guided missile frigates and eight Anzac-class frigates;
    • a naval aviation force comprising 16 Seahawk helicopters, six Sea King helicopters and 13 Squirrel helicopters;
    • a surface patrol capability comprising a mix of Fremantle and Armidale-class patrol boats. The Fremantle-class will be replaced by September 2007, leaving a force of 14 Armidale-class patrol boats;
    • six Collins-class submarines;
    • an afloat support capability consisting of an oil tanker and a replenishment ship;
    • a mine warfare force comprising six Huon-class coastal mine hunters, two auxiliary minesweepers and two clearance diving teams;
    • an amphibious lift force comprising two amphibious landing ships, one heavy landing ship and six heavy landing craft; and
    • a hydrographic force consisting of two Leeuwin-class hydrographic ships and their embarked survey motor boats, four Paluma-class survey motor launches, a laser airborne depth sounder aircraft and a deployable survey unit.


    • a special forces capability comprising a Special Air Service regiment, a Regular Army commando battalion; an Army Reserve commando regiment and an Incident Response Regiment;
    • a medium combined arms operations capability based on 1st Brigade, consisting of a tank regiment, a cavalry regiment, a medium artillery regiment; a combat engineer regiment, a combat support regiment, a mechanised infantry battalion and a combat service support battalion;
    • a light combined arms operations capability based on 3rd Brigade, consisting
    • of an armoured personnel carrier squadron, a field artillery regiment, a combat engineer regiment, a command support regiment, three infantry battalions and a combat service support battalion;
    • an aviation force based on 16th Brigade consisting of two aviation regiments of both rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft (including 35 Black Hawk, 41 Kiowa, 25 Iroquois, six Armed Reconnaissance and six Chinook helicopters, and the lease of three King Air fixed-wing aircraft);
    • a ground-based air defence capability which maintains a ground-based air defence system consisting of RBS-70 shoulder-launched missile systems and Rapier missile systems;
    • a combat support force, consisting of a surveillance and target acquisition battery, an engineer support regiment headquarters, two Army Reserve engineer construction regiments, two Regular Army engineer construction squadrons, a construction engineer works section, a topographical survey squadron, a signals regiment, an intelligence battalion, a military police battalion and a combat training centre;
    • a regional surveillance capability based on three regional force surveillance units;
    • a logistic support force consisting of two headquarters, two signals squadrons, a petroleum company, a recovery company, three force support battalions, a deployed force support unit, three health support battalions and a psychology unit;
    • a motorised combined arms capability, based on 7th Brigade, comprising a cavalry regiment, a field artillery regiment, a combat engineer regiment, a combat support regiment, three Regular Army and Army Reserve infantry battalions and a combat service support battalion; and
    • a protective operations capability drawn from the Army Reserve, with six brigades each comprising two or three infantry battalions; a cavalry unit and combat and logistic support units.


    • an air combat force of 17 F-111C, five F-111G and 71 F/A-18 aircraft, crews, weapon systems and support infrastructure; 33 Hawk Lead-In fighter aircraft and four PC-9 Forward Air Control aircraft also contribute to this force;
    • an air combat support force comprising two expeditionary combat support wings and a health services wing;
    • a surveillance and response force, consisting of air traffic control radar, tactical air defence radars, the Jindalee Operational Radar Network - a wide-area surveillance system monitoring Australia’s northern approaches, and 19 AP-3C Orion aircraft, crews and weapons systems; and
    • an airlift force consisting of 24 C-130 Hercules, 14 DHC-4 Caribou, four Boeing 707, and five VIP aircraft - two Boeing 737 BBJ and three CL604 Challenger aircraft. The first of four C-17 Globemaster III aircraft will commence operations in 2007.

    The DMO is responsible for equipping and sustaining the ADF through the acquisition and sustainment of capital equipment assets. The DMO is a prescribed agency, giving the organisation greater responsibility and accountability to ensure the ADF gets its equipment on time, on budget and to required levels of quality and safety. The DMO manages approximately 45% of the annual Defence budget, with $5b for acquiring equipment and $3.6b to maintain and support existing military systems. The DMO is part of the Department of Defence and employs around 6,800 people including ADF members and contracted personnel in more than 50 locations nationally and internationally. The DMO manages over 210 major projects (those with a contract value of more than $20m) and more than 100 minor projects. Major projects include delivery of the ANZAC ships to the Navy, the New Air Combat Capability project, the Air Warfare Destroyer program, Australian Light Armoured Vehicles and the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters. For more information about the DMO, refer to <http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo>.

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