[This page was ARCHIVED in February 2018. Click on this link to view the updated entry.]

The Naval equipment outlined here focuses on general war fighting capability with a focus on winning territorial disputes similar to the scenario faced by the UK in the Falklands War. In such environments ALL capital ships, excepting submarines, must be equipped with advanced AEGIS-type radar, IR systems, strong CIWS, surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, UAVs*/USVs, plus ASW capabilities with bow sonar and torpedoes as standard. Submarines are the primary sea control weapon of the ADF during a time of war.

*Note: Consideration should be made towards developing a long endurance ship-deployable UAV/AEW airship – for use off the LHD ships - to provide extended air and/or surface surveillance on close approach towards potentially threatening areas.

Hobart Class Destroyers (5)

The acquisition of a fourth and fifth vessel will come after 2019 when the first three vessels have replaced the Adelaide Class Frigates. If procuring additional Hobart Class ships prove problematic, then greater numbers of replacement vessels for the ANZAC Class frigates will be in order. The additional vessels are to provide a limited strike capability via the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile so that bombardment of distant airfield, air-defence, plus command and control targets is possible. These ships must also be upgraded with either the Advanced Gun System or Otobreda 127/64 Gun that are under development, plus have towed sonar systems. Additional CIWS or RAM systems will be included to improve survival against missile attacks. SAMPSON type radar could be incorporated in the future to aid the anti-missile defences against low flying targets at range. In addition to an SH-60R helo these ships will also carry two MQ-8B Fire Scout drones.

Type 26 Frigates (12+)

These frigates are to replace the ANZAC Class ships from 2022. They will be optimised for anti-submarine warfare and air defense. In the absence of additional Hobart Class ships, two or three more vessels, bringing the total above twelve, should be fitted with Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles for strike operations. All of these platforms must come equipped with bow and towed sonar as part of their standard configuration. The main gun will be the Otobreda 127/64 system. The radar systems on these vessels will be optimised to detect and shoot down low flying missiles at range, as on Daring Class Destroyers, with two CIWS units as the final layer of defence. The numbers of these frigates are increased from the Anzac Class ships to provide an adequate defence for the amphibious landing ships. Like the Hobart Class ships these frigates will also operate two MQ-8B Fire Scout drones.

HDW Type 216 Submarines (12)

These submarines are intended for many missions, with a focus on offensive operations. They will act as the key strategic strike platform (via Tomahawk LAMs), as an anti-submarine platform, as an anti-ship platform, plus conduct surveillance and special operations deployments. These boats must also include a towed sonar array, carry expendable UAVs, and later field a tube-launched anti-aircraft system for downing ASW aircraft. The submarine fleet numbers should be expanded if possible. *Note: The verticle launch tubes may be deleted from the final design as Harpoon and Tomahawk (TTL) missiles can be fired through the torpedo tubes. The favoured alternative submarine to the HDW216 is the SMX Ocean-Class currently under development.

Gowind Class Offshore Patrol Boats (16)

These ships, upgraded to be effective war fighting vessels, are intended to replace the Armidale Class Patrol boats. In addition to their 76mm deck gun they will also be fitted to carry anti-ship missiles, a RAM system and some type of lightweight sonar/torpedo system. The ship will be modified to extend the flight deck over the RHIB dock allowing the aircraft hangar situated under the bridge to be moved further aft. This ship can facilitate, but is not equipped with, AS565 MB Panther helos. Usually they will carry 2-3 Camcopters (or even Fire Scout UAVs). In times of conflict these Patrol Boats will employ helicopters or armed UAVs to give them an advantage over other surface combatants.

Canberra Class LHDs (2)

The Canberra Class LHDs primary role is as a transport landing ship, equipped with either LCM-1E or L-Cat landing craft, with secondary ASW and anti-ship capability provided via AW101 or SH-60R helos. Their standard transport helicopter must be the three engined AW101. When operating in hostile environments it is essential these ships be fitted with CIWS to protect against missile attacks plus have anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile capability via VLS or RAM. Both ships must also be capable of acting as an auxiliary aircraft carrier fielding AV-8B fighter-bombers, for anti-ship strike and ground attack operations where the threat of air attack is low, with early warning (AEW) helos or ship deployable UAV airship AEW platforms.

Aircraft per LHD:

(4) Airship UAV/AEW platforms. These aircraft will use helicopter mounted AEW systems and have multi-day endurance. Alternatively the 24 hour endurance MQ-8C drone could be used in a similar capacity.

(4) AW101s for troop transport (replacing the present NH90s), plus an extra four (4) for ASW if no SH-60Rs are carried, and a further (4) AEW types if UAVs are unavailable.

(4+) SH-60Rs [or AW101s] optimised for surface attack and ASW.

(2) AS565 MB Panther multi-mission helos also used for fixed wing [AV-8B] pilot recovery.

(4) Tiger ARHs, intermittently carried on board as close air support platforms.

(5)  AV-8Bs, intermittently carried on board, for use in the ground attack, maritime strike and limited air defence roles. A total of 14 aircraft will be operated by the RAAF with 5 to 6 aboard during training cruises. F-35Bs, if they ever become operationally viable, are unable to operate on the LHDs.

Endurance Class LDS (2)

Two vessels of this class are intended as replacements for HMAS Tobruk. The weapons systems on these ships are to be upgraded with improved radar and multiple RAM or CIWS to protect against missile attacks.

Spearhead Class JHSVs (4)

The Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) are intended for rapid 'in theatre' mobility. These ships must include standard anti-air/anti-missile RAM systems.

Unmanned Surface Vessels

Two Classes of USVs will be required for surveillance, mine detection, special operations and fleet defence:

# Ship-Deployable Inshore USVs - are intended for reconnaissance in littoral waters. They will have a multi-day loitering capability being able to launch small recon UAVs (two per boat) for closer inspection of inland targets. The boats should be equipped with a FLIR system, have sonar (mine detection), and be radar equipped - plus capable of firing both Hellfire (surface attack) and Stinger (anti-aircraft) missiles. These 'lightweight' drones come in two types - a larger 7 ton launch, the Fleet Class USV or similar, for use off capital ships, and a smaller RHIB version for use on Corvettes and Offshore Patrol Vessels.

# Blue Water USVs (7) - these larger 300+ ton ships are intended for picket line Air Defence and Anti-Submarine warfare; primarily to protect the Canberra Class LHDs. Featuring a VLS they could be modified to conduct surface warfare also in the (amphibious) fleet defence role. And, being unmanned, they can be built cheaply to commercial standards. These drones will have a two month long endurance, needing only to refuel to remain active. They will also be equipped with anti-missile systems, either RAM or CIWS or both.    


(5) Hobart Class Destroyers - displacing 6,000+ tons.

(12) Type 26 Frigates - displacing 5,400 tons.

(12+) HDW Type 216 Submarines - displacing 4000+ tons.

(16) Gowind Class Offshore Patrol Vessels - displacing 1450 tons.

(2) Canberra Class LHDs - displacing 27,000 tons.

(1) HMAS Choules LDS - 16,000 ton strategic sealift vessel.

(2) HMAS Tobruk replacements (2 Endurance Class LDS types) - displacing 8000+ tons.

(4) Spearhead Class high speed transport catamarans - displacing 2362 tons.

(6) Future Heavy Landing Craft replacing Balikpapan Class - displacing 400+ tons.

(7) Future USV Air Warfare and ASW 'picket line' drones - displacing 300+ tons.

(2) Future Fleet Replenishment vessels with CH-47 operable heli deck - displacing 25,000+ tons.

(4) Future Mine Sweepers - displacing 1500 tons.

(2) Future Survey vessels - displacing 2000 tons.

(-) Requisition of civilian transport ships - ferries, container ships - during emergency situations.

The Aircraft Carrier Option (1):

The deployment of a CATOBAR aircraft carrier can provide a strategic deterrent against regional shore based airborne threats, surface vessels and allows for high aircraft sortie rates against far off land targets. A moving airfield is a huge advantage. Such a platform can provide strong support to all manner of expeditionary operations.

The ship should displace 35,000 tons and will employ an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). Onboard weapons must include CIWS, anti-air and anti-ship VLS missiles plus (defensive) torpedo/sonar/decoy systems for increased ASW capability in high threat environments. Regular training operations will include ASW exercises involving Australian submarines.

The secondary function of this ship is as a Landing Platform Helicopter vessel with the section aft of the superstructure to include bays, one on each side, that can be utilised for landing craft - as seen amidships on HMS Ocean. Starboard and stern cargo doors will also be a feature to allow an additional roll-on roll-off cargo capability (see side column for details).

Aircraft Carried (CATOBAR):

(14) FJ-23 or F/A-XX Multi-Role Fighters -- with 8 shore based.

(2) EA-6B Prowlers or (3) 'EFJ-23' electronic warfare aircraft -- with 2 shore based

(2) E-2D Hawkeye AWACs platforms -- with 2 shore based.

(4) UAV/AEW airships.

(3) S-3 Vikings ASW/tankers/SAR (new built) -- with 2 shore based.

(4) SH-60R ASW helos or AW101s.

(2) AS565 MB Panther helos.

Two shore based training squadrons will feature:

(14) T-45 Goshawks -- upgraded and equipped to carry a greater range of ordinance and sensors on their 3 underwing hardpoints. Notable weapons include anti-ship missiles, air-to-ground missiles, anti-radar missiles, AAMs, JDAMs and laser guided bombs.

(14) Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucanos -- navalised and equipped with tail hooks. The numbers of NAVY Tucanos will be subtracted from the total Air Force numbers (65).

All training aircraft must have useful weapons capability as they are also required to act as lightweight multi-role fighters (T-45s) or light attack aircraft (Super Tucanos).

Note: If an aircraft carrier is employed the AV-8Bs, deployed on the LHDs, will be transferred from the Air Force to the NAVY's Fleet Air Arm.

For further details on the design of this ship and the operation of a second aircraft carrier, see the side information column.


  1. Don't know if you will ever read any of this, so I will just quickly comment here, have it setup to notify me if any replies.

    In terms of efficiently designed frigates (so far as cost relative to weapons payload etc..etc..) I believe that the Type054A chinese frigates which cost about 200M USD each (32VLS 8ASMs) and the about 300M USD danish Iver Huitfeldts (32 VLS, 16ASMs, 48ESSMs from smaller VLS), and the Singapore/French ship Formidable class (32VLS, 8ASMs) about 350M are the most efficently designed. Additionally the Arleigh Burke and derivitives, especially derivitives like the Sejong the great (sout korean) with 128VLS would make formidable Cruisers.

    Whilst I am not rulling out designing a new ship from scratch I believe something like the Iver Huitfeldt (which has a sensor suite similar to the UK T45 destroyer) with its powerful sensor suite, and a stretched 'bathtub' (middlepart where VLS is stored) to fit 40-64 (64 would include removing the ASM launchers in favour of VLS launched ASMs) positioned horizontally or vertically in relation to ship (i.e. 8x8 horizontal or 4x16) would pretty much be the optimal design, and probably wouldn't cost too much more. Additionally I would place two Oerlikon 30mm CIWS on both the port and starboard decks. This ship could therefore be mass produced for use by Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, and any allies in south east asia.

    Additionally all 10 Anzac class frigates could be refitted with AESA radar, Forward and AFT RIM-116 CIWS, a second 8 Cell VLS (for rocket launched ASW torpedoes) and a new towed sonar array, and therefore turned into powerful ASW frigates, and possibly given to the Phillipines as part of a security agreement or kept in active service.

    Also think of something like a maybe larger Skjold class patrol boat with 2,000KM+ range, beter sensors on mast, some sort of sonar (dip or tow like ASW helicopter), and Umkhonto/AGM-175 Griffin missiles along the port/starboard and rear sides, with a camcopter and some sort of antisubmarine grenade launcher or torpedo(perhaps dropped underneath somehow?)?

    1. I like the Iver Huitfeldts and suggested it on the Royal NZ Navy section of this page.

      I originally had three Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers (cruisers) on the first version of the NAVY section but cancelled them over cost concerns. I 'compensated' slightly by increasing the numbers of Type 26 Frigates. The reason for the Hobart Class being the lead vessel is to keep in line with current purchases. I attempted to complement the current acquisition program.

      My main concern at the moment is the rising costs of the Hobart Class ships. I would like a few more AWDs to cover attrition in times of conflict.

    2. Ignoring what I said above, I believe that the RAN should adopt a hi-lo frigate force composition similar to the UK RN's, although not with the same ships, as the backbone of the navy, possibly supported by cheap missile boats such as ROCs 'Tuo River Class'. And backed up by drones such as armed (ASW grenades?) DARPA's ACTUV, and the ZEPHYR virtual satellite, radar facilities, and patrol aircraft (orion/poseidon/or drones).

      These ships should have IEP (Integrated electric propulsion), as does the T45, with enough power output to operate a single rail-gun as part of a future upgrade, and should carry two medium sized helicopter each. Examples of the low-end (although with poor range), might be the MEKO-CSL, and the high end, I envision something like the absalon class support ship, with a smaller mission bay, and armed with 40+ VLS (which include the ASMs, i.e. perseus, nsm).

      The hobbart class was never a good price looking at alternatives, and I think it was a big mistake, instead look at what UK/CHINA/TURKEY have done, they have all adopted a sensible hi-lo straegy, in the case of china and turkey, with very affordable ships. I think AEGIS is unnecessary, and raytheon has made a superior radar to SPY anyway called AMDR, with design modifications this could be fit to the upper-tier frigate.

      I think that RAN should look at building expensive cruisers, only after it has a strong naval backbone, and maybe a few more LHDs. Unfortunately it seems like the MOD and politcians that run the military have no clue what they are doing >.<, and are buying expensive white elephants.

    3. I.E:
      Littoral Combat Forces:
      10 Hi-Frigates (with large mission bay for equipments [mine/vehicles])
      20 Lo-Frigates (your T26 is good example also and has range)
      40 Missile boats
      >Arrayed into 10 divisions, 6 north, 2 east/west, and trained in littoral warfare, i.e. anti-submarine, mine clearance and deployment, coastal raiding, etc..etc..

      Amphibious Assault Force: [Example]
      02 Canberra Class
      04 Mistral Class (cheaper, specifically the enlarged 1 offered to aus)
      12 T-AKR 310 (armed CIWS, MICA, Torpedoes and possibly Klub-m)
      2-4 Marine landing platform (armed with CIWS at least..)
      24 Heavy LCU i.e. LCU 2000
      12 Fast LCU i.e. CAIMEN-200 Or
      LST Tanks? i.e. SNR LST/Type 072III equivelant, instead of heavies.
      A few Maritime Prepositioning Ships, for sea platforms
      >Should investigate pentamarans for fast sea-lift as a substitute for some the T-AKR 310s.

      Patrol Force: [All clusses Defunct, replaced by frigates, airforce and drones]
      0 Patrol Boats
      0 Offshorre-patrol vessals
      0 Inshore patrol vessals.

      Dozen or so V280/MV-22 Tiltrotors (they have really long range)
      Dozen or so Reconnaissance sea planes.

      Some P8 Poseidons.
      Many Zephyr (virtual satellites)
      Many ACTUV
      Few Sattelites

      Submarine Force:
      14 SSGTs - 10 North, 4 East/West. Very long range, probable easier than a combination of SSNs generating hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells, or oxygen for AIP, to extend range and conventional submarines.

      Primary conflict zone will probably be the littoral waters of South East Asia/Philippines, following that would be the open seas of the Indian-ocean/pacific. RAN should consider refurbishing,upgrading and donating some of it's legacy ships to some of these countries i.e. phillipines in exchange for certain concessions i.e. basing rights, alliance, trade agreements, and guarantees of certain levels of military expenditure. Its very important to be able to secure this area from northern agression, hence the large sealift capacity!

      Without aircover, navies are a bit rubbish, the RAN is not a blue water force, that is reserved for carrier powers like the USA, France, India, china, russia, and previously the UK. RAN should build a green water navy, before thinking it can have a blue one. There is so much to do, patrol, anti-submarine, mine-warfare, providing radar coverage, etc..etc.. Australia is so large, the areas we are talking about so big, and its rivals so large, that it will need many ships! Even china is only just starting to dream of being a blue water navy, with its first carrier.

      But getting basing rights across the pacific and indian ocean, building up support infrastructure and missile defence systems, and creating partnerships, so that they are there when you need them is a good start.

      And prepositioning some forces, i.e. some airforce assets, to support naval strikes, in parralel with naval reconaisance assets would be a good idea, and go some way to mitigating the lack of carrier assets, and helping to bottle up asian navies, where they can't do any harm.

      This would translate to about 400,000 Tonnes before including auxilary vessals and probably about a million afterwards, making it the second largest navy in the world, although most of this weight is in cheap auxiliries, and most of the combat weight, in amphibious assault ships. Although the auxiliaries would spend most of their life in port.

  2. If Australia could afford more equipment then a large scale expansion would be in order. The problem is trying to get the idealised paper version of the Navy close to what is affordable considering present purchase and running costs.

    The Hobart Class vessels are certainly not looking like a top class investment considering their purchase cost. They are going to be good, but fall short of modern standards in certain aspects (stealthy superstructure, primary radar). I would prefer that they upgraded or replaced their AEGIS system with the T45 systems. I also think they should have built more than 3 of this class of ship (up to 5) to account for attrition during time of conflict. Because these are going to be newly introduced vessels the page here is including them in the 2024 mix.

    The idea of having a high capacity VLS ship, like the Iver Huitfeldts, with upgraded systems would have perhaps been a better choice.

    I would certainly favour more submarines and frigates. 14 to 20 submarines and 16 to 18 Type 26 frigates.

    And although I also favour the idea of fast attack boats I compromised with the Gowind OPVs making them armed variants. The ones here will act as corvettes but their primary advantage is their ability to operate either armed drones or Panther helos. Using their own sensors and aerial/space surveillance they will use their air launch advantage to combat opposing force attack boats or higher end threats in Australian littoral waters. Since we seem to be adding to overall equipment here I would increase their numbers to around 20.

    If possible I'd have at least 2x 40,000 ton CATOBAR carriers in place of the Mistrals. Ideally I'd like to have 3 but I'm also using a LHD as an auxiliary carrier with either F-35Bs (which may not function adequately) or upgraded AV-8Bs.

    I've limited the amphibious forces again due to cost pressure and the size of the army. If possible I'd add 2 more Endurance Class LDS ships and buy a third LHD and use that as my auxiliary carrier while fully fitting out the other two Canberra Class ships for amphib ops. I also have the Bay Class ship Choules and the 4 Spearhead class cats. I would requisition civilian sea lift ships if necessary.

    I agree with your view on using airpower to cover surface threats. Land based airforce assets would need to include P-8s, strike fighters and bombers (F-15SE/K or FA-XX or FB-23s or PAK FAs + Tu22M), and I would definitely be fielding Firescout and Mariner drones for surface attack missions primarily against fast attack craft or for surface-to-surface missile target spotting.

    My primary area of operations would be around the Indonesian archipelago, with some expenditionary ops further north to Malaysia and Singapore, and into the near Pacific and Indian Oceans. If defensive coalition operations are needed in the Philippines area then Australia should not be alone. I'm making these statements on the assumption that the US may not be involved and that the regional operations here will include ourselves and our closer allies like Malaysia and Sinagapore. The aggressive opposing force I am assuming will be either an expanded and radicalised Indonesian force in the years 2022-30 or a Chinese enroachment of island territories in the north.

    Once again, when it comes to building up a future force, I'm always up against overall affordability. Drastic improvements by the DMO and an increase in def budget would be necessary for any of these proposals.

    Also, I would like to see closer cooperation with the French Navy. There are many French territories in the Indian and Pacific Ocean and closer ties would certainly strengthen our overall position.

    Thanks again for your comments. I'm sure readers to this site will benefit from your suggestions.

  3. I think Australia should consider buying one of the new Gerald F Ford class carrier off the US and extra aircraft to go with it. This would provide us with a genuine and capable aircraft carrier, that can be used to help counter Chinese expansion in the region and support our US allies. To do this we may need to increase the defence budget a bit more over 2%, possibly to 3%, but this would be necessary for proper defence and to help stabilise our region and defend our country. What are your thoughts?