1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2006   
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Contents >> Chapter 4 - 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 six Adelaide-class guided missile frigates and six Anzac-class frigates, together with onboard helicopters
  • a naval aviation force comprising 16 Seahawk helicopters, six Sea King helicopters and 13 Squirrel helicopters (with the introduction of 11 Super Seasprites to be deployed in 2005-06)
  • a surface patrol capability comprising 14 Fremantle-class patrol boats in the process of being replaced by a fleet of 14 Armidale-class patrol boats between 2004-05 and 2007-08
  • 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
  • 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, 5 Armed Reconnaissance and 6 Chinook helicopters, and the lease of 3 King 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 the 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
  • 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 using F-111 and F/A-18 aircraft crews, weapon systems and support infrastructure; Hawk Lead-In fighter aircraft and PC-9 Forward Air Control aircraft also contributing to this force
  • an air combat support force comprising two combat support wings, one expeditionary combat support wing; one combat reserve wing; an airfield defence wing 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 P-3 Orion aircraft, crews and weapons systems
  • an airlift force consisting of 24 C-130 Hercules, 14 DHC-4 Caribou, 4 Boeing 707, 8 B300 Beechcraft King aircraft introduced into service in September 2003 and 5 VIP aircraft - 2 Boeing 737 BBJ and 3 CL604 Challenger aircraft.

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