Portal:Royal Australian Navy

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Naval Ensign of Australia.svg

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 World War II. 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.

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HMAS Canberra sailing into Sydney Harbour in 1930.jpg

The History of the Royal Australian Navy can be traced back to 1788 and the colonisation of Australia by the British. During this period until 1859 vessels of the Royal Navy made frequent trips to the new colonies. In 1859 the Australia Squadron was formed as a separate squadron and remained in Australia until 1913. During the period before Federation each of the 6 Australian colonies operated their own colonial naval force, these amalgamated in 1901 as the Commonwealth Naval Force. The Royal Australian Navy was established in 1911 and in 1913 the fleet steamed through Sydney Heads for the first time.The Royal Australian Navy has seen action in every ocean of the world during its short life. Seeing action in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and countless smaller conflicts. Today the RAN fields a small but modern force, widely regarded as one of the most powerful forces in the Asia Pacific Region.

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Commander Robert Rankin

Robert William Rankin was a Royal Australian Navy officer who was killed in action in World War II. On March 4, 1942 while escorting a small convoy from Java to Australia, HMAS Yarra encountered a Japanese naval force comprised of three cruisers and two destroyers. Rankin immediately transmitted a sighting report, ordered the convoy to scatter, and placed Yarra between the enemy and the convoy. Only 13 of the 151 crew survived the engagement. In honour of Robert Rankin the 6th and final Collins class submarine, HMAS Rankin was named in his honour. The ship's motto is "Defend the Weak", a reference to the efforts of Robert Rankin and Yarra to defend the unarmed convoy ships.

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The two competing designs: an Arleigh Burke class destroyer (front) with a F100 class frigate (rear)

The Hobart class destroyer is a class of three ships which are planned to enter service with the Royal Australian Navy from 2013. While the design of the Hobart class is yet to be finalised, the ships will feature the Aegis combat system and other sophisticated weapons and electronic systems. The Hobart class design will be based on either the United States Arleigh Burke class or the Spanish F100 design. The final design will be selected in mid 2007.



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