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Annual Report 2014–15

Volume 1, Part 2 : Performance

Programme 1.2
Navy Capabilities

The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, is responsible and accountable to the CDF for the command, leadership and capability output of the Navy. The Chief of Navy is also Defence’s principal naval adviser on strategic affairs.

As part of a balanced Australian Defence Force, the Royal Australian Navy is charged with enforcing our sovereignty, defending and promoting our interests, and maintaining the international systems on which, along with our friends and allies, our way of life depends. The Navy provides government with a broad spectrum of capabilities, from high-end warfighting operations to peacetime humanitarian assistance activities.

The year 2014–15 was a busy one for the Navy, which saw the commencement of the largest maritime capability transition in decades. The Adelaide class frigate HMAS Sydney and the amphibious ship HMAS Tobruk entered Sydney Harbour for the final time. The final three heavy landing craft, HMA Ships Brunei, Labuan and Tarakan, were decommissioned. Together these five Navy stalwarts had served the nation for a combined total of more than 190 years.

The 27,000-tonne large amphibious ship HMAS Canberra—the largest ship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy—was commissioned into service on 28 November 2014. Its sister ship Adelaide is scheduled to be commissioned in late 2015. Together with their embarked helicopters and landing craft, the two ships will provide one of the most capable and sophisticated air–land–sea amphibious deployment systems in the world.

A major transition in the world of naval aviation took place during the year: the MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopter was introduced into service, and the 725 Squadron (Naval Air) was re-commissioned on 18 June 2015. The Romeo Seahawks replace the S-70B-2 Seahawk aircraft, which have been in service since 1988. The new aircraft will significantly enhance the Navy’s ability to conduct surface and anti-submarine warfare.

NUSHIP Hobart, the first of the new air warfare destroyers, was launched in Adelaide on 23 May 2015. While Hobart is still some time off operational service, this was a significant milestone in bringing her into service.

Operationally, the Navy deployed HMA Ships Darwin, Toowoomba, Success and Newcastle to the Middle East Area of Operations for counter-terrorism, counter-narcotic and anti-piracy patrols in support of Operation Manitou. Closer to home the Navy continued to provide ships to Operation Resolute for border protection, as well as providing maritime support to the G20 Leaders’ Summit hosted by Australia in Brisbane in November 2014.

HMAS Tobruk, with an embarked MRH-90 Taipan aircraft from 808 Squadron, provided urgent disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam had left the island nation devastated in March 2015. Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour and HMAS Anzac began circumnavigating the globe in support of the Centenary of Anzac commemorations on 22 December 2014 and 15 March 2015 respectively.

Table 3.4: Programme 1.2 deliverables

Deliverable

Status

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Key

Met

• • •

Substantially met

• •

Partially met

• •

Not met

• • •

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Provide assigned forces and maintain preparedness to deliver capability to meet government requirements.

Status Substantially Met • •

Ongoing issues with the maintenance of Armidale class patrol boats to support Operation Resolute are being managed by Navy and the DMO.

Undertake joint collective training to ensure force elements are prepared for deployment and operations.

Status Met • • •

In consultation with the Capability Development Group and the DMO, continue to plan, develop and monitor delivery of, and transition to, new capability.

Status Met • • •

Provide timely, accurate and considered advice on Navy capabilities to the Government, the CDF and the Secretary.

Status Met • • •

Deliver reform and savings without compromising agreed levels of Navy capability and safety.

Status Met • • •

Meet national hydrographic survey and charting obligations.

Status Substantially Met • •

Achievement of national hydrographic surveying obligations was affected by platform defects, inclement weather and reassignment to military survey tasking.

Table 3.5: Programme 1.2 deliverables (unit ready days)

Deliverable

Status

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Key

Met

• • •

Substantially met

• •

Partially met

• •

Not met

• • •

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18 major combatants

2,986 unit ready days

Status Met • • •

20 minor combatants

4,837 unit ready days

Status Substantially Met • •

The underachievement of unit ready days by Armidale class patrol boats is attributed to the overrun of maintenance activities and, to a lesser extent, extended defect rectification periods.

7 amphibious and afloat support

1,508 unit ready days

Status Met • • •

9 hydrographic force

2,810 unit ready days

Status Substantially Met • •

Achievement of national hydrographic surveying obligations was affected by platform defects, inclement weather and reassignment to military survey tasking.

Table 3.6: Programme 1.2 deliverables (unit availability days)

Deliverable

Status

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Key

Met

• • •

Substantially met

• •

Partially met

• •

Not met

• • •

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18 major combatants

2,830 unit availability days

Status Met • • •

20 minor combatants

4,273 unit availability days

Status Substantially Met • •

The underachievement of unit availability days by Armidale class patrol boats is attributed to the overrun in maintenance packages, which resulted in rescheduling of training periods.

7 amphibious and afloat support

1,298 unit availability days

Status Met • • •

9 hydrographic force

2,352 unit availability days

Status Met • • •

Table 3.7: Programme 1.2 deliverables (products)

Deliverable

Status

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Key

Met

• • •

Substantially met

• •

Partially met

• •

Not met

• • •

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20 charting projects

Status Met • • •

Table 3.8: Programme 1.2 deliverables (flying hours)

Deliverable

Status

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Key

Met

• • •

Substantially met

• •

Partially met

• •

Not met

• • •

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16 S-70B-2 (Seahawks)

2,800 hrs

Status Met • • •

13 AS350BA (Squirrels)

3,600 hrs

Status Met • • •

6 MH-60R Seahawks

2,400 hrs

Status Met • • •

Target reduced to 1,700 flying hours due to the transition of the squadron from the United States to Australia.

1 Laser airborne depth sounder aircraft

980 hrs

Status Met • • •

Table 3.9: Programme 1.2 key performance indicators

Key performance indicator

Status

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Key

Met

• • •

Substantially met

• •

Partially met

• •

Not met

• • •

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Achieve levels of preparedness as directed by the CDF.

Status Met • • •

Generate and sustain forces to meet the Government’s operational requirements.

Status Substantially Met • •

Ongoing issues with the maintenance of Armidale class patrol boats to support Operation Resolute are being managed by Navy and the DMO.

Achieve a level of training that maintains core skills, professional standards and baseline preparedness.

Status Met • • •

Provide timely, accurate and considered advice on Navy capabilities to the Government, the CDF and the Secretary.

Status Met • • •

Achieve HydroScheme 2013–16 data and surveying tasking requirements to meet national hydrographic surveying and charting obligations.

• • Status Partially Met

Ship-based HydroScheme survey targets in priority areas were only partially met.

Hydrographic ships underachieved due to a number of critical platform defects and unscheduled maintenance. Survey motor launches also underachieved due to platform defects, reassignment to military surveys in lieu of HydroScheme tasking and delay in entering training activities.