OPINION | How to plug the Royal Australian Navy’s looming surface capability gap

Released 10 months after the defence strategic review (DSR), the annexed and long-awaited review of the Royal Australian Navy’s surface combatant fleet has finally brought some much-needed clarity on the RAN’s ambitions to expand and add potency to its current inventory of eight frigates and three...


OPINION | Australia’s “tier 2” naval expansion opens the door for the Anzac frigate redux

This week’s unveiling of the expansionary blueprint for Australia’s future naval surface fleet brings with it a golden opportunity to revive defence cooperation between Australia and its occasionally ambivalent ally, New Zealand. Specifically, the announcement that Australia will acquire up to 11 general purpose frigates opens the door for New Zealand to join the acquisition […]

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OPINION | AUKUS: A solution to the risky UK gambit

Doubts about America’s capacity to build and then sell to Australia a series of Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) under the AUKUS agreement have led Matthew Mai to conclude that, “It is unlikely the United States will be able to deliver SSNs within the timeline laid out”. I agree...


OPINION | Navy chief Mark Hammond: With a well-designed campaign, surface warships can operate in a high intensity conflict

Over decades, a truism has matured that modern technology, surveillance systems and weapons have evolved to the point where surface warships will not survive in a high intensity conflict. So, given the major increase in the size and lethality of the Royal Australian Navy announced this week, how has that thinking changed? Navy chief Vice […]

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COLUMN | The UN and unions: puppet masters of the Labor Party? [An Innocent Australian]

Ocean Island, Central Pacific, 1964. Standing on a plank stage hanging off the side of a ship with another cadet, I was unenthusiastically cleaning some rust spots, whilst the ship waited to load phosphate. We were close to the surface of these clear blue waters, with two-metre reef sharks cruising...


OPINION | The navy gets bigger under the fleet review – but is it enough?

The Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant review has laid out plans for the Royal Australian Navy to grow larger, with more firepower in the coming decade to ensure that it can meet the challenges highlighted in the 2023 defence strategic review (DSR). The navy’s surface combatant force will see the...


OPINION | Are missile cruisers a better option than corvettes?

The navy is under-gunned for the strategic circumstances Australia faces. For years, commentators have criticised its existing and planned platforms for possessing too few missile cells. Many of them have suggested that the best remedy is to commission a significant number of small warships or...


OPINION | HMAS Voyager (II): remembering the 82 fallen, and so many who would never be the same again

This last February 10 marks the 60th anniversary of the loss of the Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Voyager (II), which sank 20 nautical miles south-east of Jervis Bay. Of the 314 crew of Voyager, 82 were lost that night in Australia’s worst peacetime military disaster. Many more lives were...


OPINION | Reducing risks, cost and time to acquire our AUKUS attack submarines

In a recent article for The Strategist, I painted a depressing picture of the UK’s submarine capability—a force undercapitalised, with inadequate facilities, short of personnel, and unable to get its nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) to sea. Britain’s Royal Navy is struggling to sustain a...


VESSEL REVIEW | Charley 2 – New catamaran yacht support vessel built in Western Australia

Henderson, Western Australia-based Echo Yachts has completed construction of a new yacht support vessel. Named Charley 2, the vessel has an aluminium hull and superstructure, an aluminium/teak deck, an LOA of 56 metres, a beam of 14.8 metres, a draught of 3.4 metres, and a gross tonnage of 1,041....


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