Final voyage of RAN FFGs

HMAS Melbourne (Commander Marcus Buttler), the last of the RAN FFGs, sailed into Sydney for the final time. The 138-metre long Guided Missile Frigate arrived at Fleet Base East bringing her 27 years of service at sea to an end.

HMAS Melbourne was commissioned in 1992 and has sailed more than 780,000 nautical miles throughout her service life. She deployed to the Middle East eight times and earned battle honours for her service in East Timor, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. She recently completed a four month deployment through Asia, including conducting international maritime surveillance operations to enforce sanctions against North Korea.

HMAS Melbourne will decommission in October.

Protecting maritime trade – a historical perspective

By Vice Admiral Peter Jones AO DSC RAN Retired

From the early days of the European settlement until the first years of the 20th Century, there has been concern in Australia about the interdiction of shipping bound to and from Australia. The threats changed over time from France, Russia, Germany and then Japan. Indeed the need to protect trade and keep our ports open was a major driver for the birth of Colonial navies, the maintenance of the British Squadron on the Australian Station and then the birth of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). While some of the concerns, such as in the case of Imperial Russia was somewhat alarmist, in the case of Germany and Japan it was well founded.

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Danger tying defence spending to GDP

By Marcus Hellyer*

It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. This is particularly the case with the trajectory of GDP growth.

That’s one of the problems with tying defence funding to a specific percentage of GDP, whether it’s 2% or some other number. As official predictions for GDP growth change, the Defence Department’s future funding changes. This means that the future force structure is constantly changing as defence planners try to match capability with changing dollars.

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Information as a strategic resource

By LCDR Robert “Jake” Bebber, USN

A strategic resource is one for which states compete. Land is the classic example of a strategic resource, but virtually any resource can be strategic if it is essential to a nation’s interests and if gaining and maintaining access to it requires states to formulate and pursue competitive policies.

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Nuship Sydney goes to sea

Alliance General Manager, Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, Paul Evans (front row, third from left); Director General Naval Construction Branch, CDRE Steve Tiffen (centre); Captain Nick Woods MN (fifth from left); Commanding Officer NUSHIP Sydney, CMDR Edward Seymour (sixth from left); with NUSHIP Sydney crew and AWD Warrant Officer’s team onboard NUSHIP Sydney before she enters Sea Acceptance Trials, Osborne, SA.

The Navy’s latest and most exciting addition to the Fleet has set sail for the first time and is currently conducting Builder’s Sea Trials in South Australia, Seawaves magazine reports.

This marks the first major step for NUSHIP Sydney and its crew in becoming a highly effective warfighting unit, capable of the full spectrum of naval operations.

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RN chief outlines priorities

Three months after his appointment, the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) most senior officer has outlined his five priorities for the transformation of the service.

Speaking at the DSEI Maritime Capability Conference 2019, Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said he was encouraged by the investment in the recapitalisation of the RN, including new submarines, aircraft carriers, frigates, offshore patrol vessels and support ships.

‘‘The upshot is that the Royal Navy is growing for the first time in 70 years,’’ he told delegates. ‘‘That’s a great place to be in for the service.’’

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2019 Goldrick Seminar a success

The 2019 Goldrick Seminar on Maritime Trade and its implications for Australian Defencewas held at the Australian Defence Force Academy on Wednesday 18 September. The highly successful event, in which the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mike Noonan gave the Keynote Address (pictured), attracted around 200 attendees. 

Speakers drawn from industry, government, academia and the attachécorps outlined the characteristics of maritime trade in Australia and our region and the implications for Defence in protecting this trade in times of tension or conflict.

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Cyber AI and great power rivalry

By Ashok Sharma*

Artificial Intelligence and cyber warfare are emerging as key components in great power rivalry. The international community needs to act fast to develop legal and political frameworks that can mitigate their deleterious effects.

Asymmetric warfare used by both nation states and non-state actors to harm their adversaries and to achieve their objectives has been a major focus for defence planners since 9-11. Terrorism continues to be a global security challenge, but a new asymmetric security challenges in the form of cyber attacks has emerged over the past decades.

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