HMAS Cairns (naval base)

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HMAS Cairns
Cairns, Queensland in Australia
HMAS Cairns.jpg
Sentry gate at the entrance to HMAS Cairns
HMAS Cairns is located in Queensland
HMAS Cairns
HMAS Cairns
Location in Queensland
Coordinates 16°56′08″S 145°46′40″E / 16.93556°S 145.77778°E / -16.93556; 145.77778Coordinates: 16°56′08″S 145°46′40″E / 16.93556°S 145.77778°E / -16.93556; 145.77778
Type Naval base
Site information
Owner Department of Defence
Operator  Royal Australian Navy
Site history
In use 1974 - present
Garrison information
Commander Carl Capper, RAN

HMAS Cairns is a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base located adjacent to the Trinity Inlet on the shore of Trinity Bay in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Although used regularly as a port-of-call since before World War II, a permanent RAN presence was not established until 1971, when a maintenance and support base for patrol boats was set up. The base was formally commissioned in 1971 as a minor war vessel base. The current commander of the base is Commander Carl Capper, RAN.

HMAS Cairns is responsible for all Australian naval activity off north-eastern Australia, and is the home base for Ardent Division of the Australian Patrol Boat Group, the ships of the Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Service, and several Balikpapan class landing craft.


The RAN had been using Cairns as a regular stop since before World War II, and during the war, Cairns was the principal port-of-call for many ships prior to heading to Pacific destinations.[1] There was no official RAN presence in Cairns until 1971, when facilities for the maintenance of the RAN's patrol boats were established.[1] In 1974, HMAS Cairns was commissioned as the parent establishment for patrol vessels and hydrographic ships based at Cairns.[1]

In 2016 the Australian Government announced plans to significantly redevelop Carins as northern Australia’s key strategic naval base. The plans announced projected that the number of personnel would increase from 900 to 3,000 by 2020,[2] via an A$120 million injection over ten years.[3]

Facilities and operational units[edit]

Cairns is currently responsible for all Australian naval activity from Rockhampton to Thursday Island and serves as the home base for Ardent Division of the Australian Patrol Boat Group, which consists of four of the navy's fourteen Armidale class patrol boats.[1] The base also berths the RAN's entire hydrographic fleet, consisting of two Leeuwin class survey vessels and four Paluma class survey motor launches, plus four of the six Balikpapan class landing craft.[1] Cairns also has operational responsibility for the LADS Flight based at Cairns Airport.

Ships stationed[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "HMAS Cairns". Royal Australian Navy. Australian Government. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Michael, Peter (7 March 2016). "HMAS Cairns major expansion to make it key northern defence base". Cairns Post. Retrieved 5 August 2017. 
  3. ^ Kim, Sharnie (26 February 2016). "Defence White Paper: HMAS Cairns to get $120m over 10 years, more Navy patrol boats". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 5 August 2017.