1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
   Page tools: Print Print Page



In a changing strategic environment, the ADF needs to be a flexible and adaptable defence force, ready to be deployed at short notice and able to be sustained on operations for as long as required.

Capability is defined as 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 four Adelaide Class guided missile frigates and eight Anzac class frigates
  • a naval aviation force, comprising 16 Seahawk Maritime Combat helicopters, six MRH-90 Maritime Support helicopters and 13 Squirrel and three Agusta A109E Power Training helicopters
  • a surface patrol capability, comprising 14 Armidale-class patrol boats, manned by 21 crews
  • six Collins Class submarines
  • an afloat support capability, consisting of an oil tanker and a replenishment ship home
  • a mine warfare force, comprising six Huon Class coastal mine hunters and two clearance diving teams
  • an amphibious lift force, comprising one amphibious landing ship, 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 geospatial support team.
  • a special forces capability comprising a Special Air Service regiment, a Regular Army commando regiment, an Army Reserve commando regiment and an incident response regiment
  • a medium combined arms operations capability provided by 1st Brigade, consisting of a tank regiment, a cavalry regiment, two mechanised infantry battalions, an artillery regiment, a combat engineer regiment, a signals regiment and a combat service support battalion
  • a light combined arms operations capability provided by 3rd Brigade, consisting of a protected mobility vehicle squadron, three light infantry battalions, an artillery regiment, a combat engineer regiment, a signals regiment and a combat service support battalion
  • a motorised combined arms capability provided by 7th Brigade, consisting of a cavalry regiment, two motorised infantry battalions, an artillery regiment, a combat engineer regiment, a signals squadron and a combat service support battalion
  • a regional surveillance capability, consisting of three regional force surveillance units
  • an aviation capability provided by 16 Aviation Brigade, consisting of an armed reconnaissance regiment flying Tiger helicopters, an air mobility regiment flying Chinook, Blackhawk and Multi Role Helicopters, and an air mobility regiment flying Blackhawk and Kiowa helicopters
  • an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance and electronic warfare capability provided by 6th Brigade, consisting of a surveillance and target acquisition regiment, an engineer support regiment, an electronic warfare regiment, an intelligence battalion and an air defence regiment
  • a logistic support capability provided by 17th Brigade, consisting of a signals regiment, three force support battalions, three health support battalions, a psychology unit and a military police battalion
  • a training capability based in a number of schools around Australia including the Army Recruit Training Centre at Wagga Wagga, the Royal Military College of Australia at Duntroon in Canberra, the School of Infantry at Singleton and the Army Logistics Training Centre at Albury/Wodonga, and
  • an Army Reserve capability drawn from six brigades, each comprising two or three infantry battalions, an artillery, light cavalry, and combat support and logistic support units.

  • an air combat group of 69 F/A-18 Hornet and 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft and associated systems and support, 33 Hawk Lead-in fighter aircraft, four PC-9 forward air control aircraft for training and four Heron remotely-piloted surveillance/reconnaissance aircraft
  • a combat support group comprising two expeditionary combat support wings and a health services wing
  • a surveillance and response group operating air traffic control systems, radars and tactical air defence systems, 19 P-3 Orion aircraft and associated systems and support and four Wedgetail Airborne early warning and control aircraft
  • an airlift group operating 24 C-130 Hercules, eight B300 King Air 350 light utility aircraft, five C-17 Globemaster III heavy airlift aircraft, two KC-30A tanker-transport aircraft for air-to-air refuelling and transport roles, and a VIP transport squadron of five aircraft
  • a training group which provides a wide range of training and education programs and operates 57 PC-9 training aircraft in addition to eight B300 King Air 350 multi-role trainer aircraft
  • an aerospace operational support group comprising aviation medicine support and training units, electronic warfare support, intelligence support, and aviation support services; the group also includes an aerospace test and evaluation unit that operates two F/A-18 Hornet aircraft and two PC-9 aircraft
  • three contingency bases, and
  • a test and evaluation range, air weapons ranges and other smaller ranges.


The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) equips and sustains the ADF through the acquisition and sustainment of capital equipment. The operational success of the ADF depends on the DMO providing equipment on time, on budget, and to the required levels of capability, quality and safety. The DMO, as a prescribed agency under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cwlth), is a professional service delivery organisation, principally driven by the defence policies and objectives set by the Australian Government and the requirements of the ADF. It aims to be a business-like, accountable and outcome-driven organisation with a strong and close relationship with the Government, its Defence customers and industry.

The DMO is currently managing over 190 major acquisition projects (those with a contract value of more than $20 million) and more than 90 minor projects. It also provides sustainment management services for over 100 ‘fleets’ of military equipment. To meet these demands, the DMO has many of its own staff, together with contracted industry suppliers, across Australia and overseas including the United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Spain and New Zealand.

The DMO and the Australian defence industry have a significant and ongoing role to play in delivering new equipment on time, on budget and to specifications underlined by capability effect, quality and safety. In 2011–12, the DMO is budgeted to spend in excess of $11 billion, which equates to about 40% of the Defence budget.

The DMO will manage acquisition and sustainment worth over $115 billion during the next decade, with around 50 to 55% to be spent in Australia. The latest Defence Capability Plan includes about $147 billion worth of projects in Budget 2011–12 prices, which is equivalent to around $214 billion out-turned (i.e. taking into account projected inflation rates).


Previous Page | Next Page

Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.