Home' Defence Magazine : White Paper 2009 Contents 16
nAVy wIll rIse
to whIte PAPer
By LCDR Fenn Kemp
defence magazine ›
he chief of navy, vice admiral
russ crane, says the defence
white paper will force navy to
confront major change in the
“The White Paper contains exciting
new capabilities for us but there are hard
yards ahead,” VADM Crane said. “The biggest
challenge will be implementing the reforms
needed to ensure such capabilities are realised.”
The White Paper forecasts an extra 700 Navy
uniformed personnel and VADM Crane says the
New Generation Navy (NGN) program is critical in
ensuring Navy grows the right way.
“Navy is currently structurally hollow,”
VADM Crane said.
“Far too many of our people are being
stretched too thinly to cover for positions which
can’t be filled. We have to be more flexible and
The New Generation Navy program is already
laying the ground work for major change to the
way Navy does business. The program has begun
rolling out major structural and cultural reforms to
improve the management of Navy’s workforce.
Another NGN priority is improving training.
The White Paper also foreshadows greater use of
simulators; something which VADM Crane says is
great news for all Navy people.
“We’ve under-funded training opportunities
over the past 10 years or so,” VADM Crane said.
“Simulators will allow us to do a lot more of
our training ashore and we will also be able to
carry out better competency checks before our
people go to sea.”
Naturally, more assets will dramatically
increase pressure on recruitment. While there has
been much talk about how Navy will crew its 12
new submarines, VADM Crane remains confident
the measures announced recently will improve
retention and grow the submarine force.
“The 2008 Submarine Sustainability Review
identified a range of problems and made 29
recommendations for urgent reforms to the
way Navy manages its submariners and its
submarines. I am implementing all of them,”
VADM Crane said.
VADM Crane has also been quick to dismiss
accusations by some Defence commentators
that the balance in the Australian Fleet has been
weighted too far.
“What we will have available to us in 2030 to
achieve our mission is a balanced force with the
right mix of air, surface and sub-surface platforms
capable of meeting our responsibilities to CDF and
the Government we serve.”
Another major concern addressed in the
White Paper is the future of the Navy’s aviation
force. The loss of the Sea Sprite project and the
ageing Seahawk helicopter fleet has left Navy in
a delicate state.
VADM Crane says the White Paper’s forecast
of another 24 combat helicopters will go far in
improving that situation.
“I am pleased to see the Government
acknowledge that these aircraft will be acquired as a
matter of urgency and I look forward to the receiving
them as soon as possible,” VADM Crane said.
The White Paper is about providing Navy
with the ability to play its part in delivering the
joint effects the ADF needs to meet Government
requirements in a maritime environment.
“But we need to do this by focusing on our
people – not the assets,” VADM Crane said. “Navy
has every right to be very pleased and excited by the
White Paper’s content, but we have a lot of work to
do now to deliver.
achieve our mission is a balanced force with
the right mix of air, surface and sub-surface
platforms capable of meeting our responsibilities
to cdf and the government we serve
Chief of Navy vice admiral russ crane
What the White Paper
means for Navy
The 2009 Defence White Paper has focused significantly on
enhancing Australia’s maritime capabilities for the 21st century,
During the next 20 years, Navy’s force structure will include
new major destroyers and frigates, submarines, amphibious
ships, offshore combatant vessels, naval combat helicopters and
other advanced enabling capabilities. Key capability decisions
relevant to this enhanced maritime force include:
• A fleet of 12 new Submarines to replace the current six Collins
Class submarines. The program will span three decades and will
be Australia’s largest single defence project.
• Enhancements to the weapons systems of the three new Air
Warfare Destroyers, with consideration of acquiring a fourth
vessel in the future;
• A fleet of eight new larger frigates, with an emphasis on Anti-
Submarine Warfare to replace the current ANZAC Class frigates;
• Continuation of acquisition of two new Landing Helicopter Dock
(LHD) ships that will invigorate the Australian Defence Force’s
• A new strategic sealift ship based on a proven design to
strengthen the Navy’s amphibious and transport capability;
• A fleet of at least 24 new naval combat helicopters, equipped
with dipping sonars to detect submarines at greater ranges;
• Six new MRH-90 helicopters that will replace the general utility
service previously provided by the Sea King fleet;
20 new offshore combatant vessels equipped with modular mission
systems that will incorporate the capabilities presently provided by
the separate patrol boat, hydrographic and mine-hunter fleets;
• Six new ocean-going heavy landing craft with greater range and
speed than the aging Balikpapan class Landing Craft Heavy;
• Replacement of the Navy’s oldest supply ship, HMAS Success,
with a new replenishment and logistic support ship which will
enter service at the end of the next decade.
The Government will also provide additional funding for 700
positions within Navy’s workforce structure. This initiative will
address the significant workforce challenges presently being
experienced by Navy and will meet future requirements associated
with the significant capability upgrades foreshadowed by the 2009
Defence White Paper.
Navy has already announced its plan to increase the size of
the submarine workforce through a new approach as part of the
New Generation Navy strategy. By providing targeted incentives
for submariners that include training, adjusting crew numbers and
formations, conditions of service, seatime and other initiatives,
Defence will ensure that the current shortfalls are addressed, and
that a robust submarine workforce is built for the future.
Combined with a range of recruitment and retention initiatives
and strategies, this new approach will provide the basis for a larger
and more sustainable submarine force.
The New Generation Navy project, which seeks to address these
workforce pressures, is the basis for improvement in the retention
of Navy personnel through improved leadership, more effective
organisational structures, streamlined training procedures and better
sharing of the workload across Navy.
sub lieutenant paul aitken plots
hMas Sydney's position en route
to the Malacca straits for the first
leg of operation northern trident,
a worldwide deployment aimed at
supporting australia's priorities in
selected western, european, north
america and asian countries
Photo By: LSPH Nadia Monteith
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