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Surface Warfare

The ADF possesses a wide range of assets to conduct operations against adversary surface forces. The heavyweight torpedoes of the Collins class represent a formidable threat to the largest surface vessels. In addition to the attacks which can be conducted by fixed wing aircraft, such as the F-111 and the P3C Orion, in the Maritime Strike role, with anti-ship missiles, or with laser guided weapons, submarines, surface combatants and helicopters are all capable of deploying anti-ship missiles. The difficulties of target identification and targeting, particularly in crowded or littoral environments mean that short notice engagements will often be inevitable. This increases the importance of organic capabilities. These include the Penguin missile which will be carried in the Sea Sprite helicopter and the Harpoon missiles which are already installed in the Adelaide class guided missile frigates and which are being fitted to the Anzac class frigates to supplement their 5-inch guns.

As of mid-2000 the RAN possessed nine operational destroyers and frigates. This force was in transition to a mixed force of fourteen Adelaide and Anzac class, a process which was complete by 2005. All of these ships carry at least one helicopter. These helicopters, the Seahawk in the Adelaide class and the Sea Sprite in the Anzac class, are organic to the ships and are an extremely important multiplier of their capabilities, particularly for surface and undersea warfare. Destroyers and frigates represent the minimum size of surface combatant which possess surveillance and combat capabilities in all three primary warfare areas (air, surface and undersea) and which are capable of sustained independent operations. They would be key elements in any task group that the ADF may deploy for maritime operations. Their flexibility and versatility make these ships platforms of first resort in contingencies throughout the spectrum of conflict.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:34:10 ZULU