Portal:Royal Australian Navy

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Introduction

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: 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 continued to support the RAN and provided additional 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 these paying off in 1982.

Today, the RAN consists of 47 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 Australia 1945 019438.jpg

The Battle of Leyte Gulf was a naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought in the seas around the island of Leyte in the Philippines from October 23 to October 26, 1944. The Japanese intended to repel or destroy the Allied invasion of Leyte. Instead, the Allied navies inflicted a major defeat on the outnumbered Imperial Japanese Navy which finished it as a strategic force in the Pacific War. The battle is often considered to be the largest naval battle in history. Leyte Gulf was also the scene of the first use of kamikaze aircraft by the Japanese. The Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia was hit on 21 October, and organized suicide attacks by the "Special Attack Force" began on 25 October. In total Australia contributed around 10 warships and No. 10 Group RAAF which conducted ground attacks in the Southern Philippines.

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Selected biography

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.

Selected equipment

HMAS Armidale Darling Harbour.jpg

The Armidale class patrol boat is a new class of patrol boats under construction for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and is intended to replace the Fremantle class patrol boats. Designed and built by Austal Ships, the leadship HMAS Armidale was commissioned in June 2005. The final ship in the class (HMAS Glenelg (ACPB 96)) is due to be delivered in 2007. In total 14 vessels are to be commissioned. The Armidale's will be based in Cairns, Darwin and Dampier to conduct border security and fishing patrols of Australia's northern waters. The ships may also be used to support the Army's Regional Surveillance Units and special forces.

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