1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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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 six guided missile frigates and six Anzac-class frigates, together with onboard helicopters
  • a naval aviation force comprising 16 Seahawk helicopters, seven Sea King helicopters and 13 Squirrel helicopters (with the introduction of 10 Super Seasprites to be deployed in 2005-06)
  • a surface patrol capability comprising 15 Fremantle-class patrol boats (to be replaced by a fleet of 12 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 heaving 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 commando regiment; a Reserve commando regiment and an Incident Response Regiment
  • a mechanised operations capability based on 1st Brigade, consisting of a tank regiment, a cavalry regiment, a medium artillery regiment; and combat engineer regiment, a combat support regiment, a mechanised infantry battalion and a combat service support battalion
  • a light infantry force 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 based on two aviation regiments of both rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft (including 36 Black Hawk, 42 Kiowa, 25 Iroquois and six Chinook helicopters and 3 King Air and 2 Twin Otter fixed-wing aircraft)
  • a ground-based air defence force 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 construction regiment, topographical survey squadron, a surveillance and target acquisition battery, a signals regiment, an intelligence battalion, a military police battalion and a combat training centre
  • a regional surveillance force drawn from three regional force surveillance units
  • a logistic support force consisting of 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 infantry force, based on 7th Brigade, comprising a cavalry regiment, a field artillery regiment, a combat engineer regiment, a combat support regiment, three reserve/integrated infantry battalions and a combat service support battalion
  • a protective operations force drawn from the Reserves, comprising two or three infantry battalions; a cavalry unit and combat and logistic support units

Air Force
  • 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 contribution to this force
  • an air combat support force comprising two combat support wings, one expeditionary combat support wing; one combat reserve wing; an air field defence wing and a health services wing
  • a strategic surveillance force, consisting of air traffic control radars, tactical air defence radars, air defence radars and the Jindalee Operational Radar Network - a wide-area surveillance system monitoring Australia’s northern approaches
  • a maritime patrol force consisting of P-3 aircraft, crews and weapon systems
  • an airlift force consisting of 24 C-130 Hercules, 14 Caribou, four Boeing 707, seven Beechcraft Kingair 350 aircraft introduced into service from September 2003 and five VIP aircraft - two Boeing 737 and three CL604 Challenger aircraft.

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