The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAN's stated mission is "to fight and win in the maritime environment as an element of a joint or combined force. To assist in maintaining Australia's sovereignty and to contribute to the security of our region."
The RAN currently has nearly 14,420 personnel on active duty or in the Reserve and operates over 50 vessels, including frigates, submarines, patrol boats and auxiliary ships. The RAN is one of the most modern navies in the Pacific and is responsible for defending Australian waters and undertaking operations in distant locations.
The Commonwealth Naval Forces were established on 1 March 1901, two months after the Federation of Australia. On 10 July 1911, King George V granted the title of Royal Australian Navy. The Royal Navy continued to provide blue water defence in the Pacific until World War II, when expansion of the RAN saw the acquisition of aircraft carriers, and other large surface vessels.
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.