Rear Admiral Owen John Hughes

RADM Owen Hughes

Owen John Hughes was born in Waikerie, South Australia, on 27 August 1935 and joined the Royal Australian Naval College in 1951. Known by his friends as 'Oscar' he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from Melbourne University in 1958 and following weapons application training in the United Kingdom he spent most of the succeeding years working in aircraft engineering and project appointments at the naval air station at Nowra (HMAS Albatross), serving in the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (II) and representing the RAN overseas.

He served as the weapons electrical engineering officer in HMAS Vampire in 1968 and was promoted to Commander in 1969. Further postings to HMAS Albatross followed before taking up an appointment on the staff of the Australian Naval Representative, United Kingdom, and later as the Assistant Director of Naval Communications Design.

Promoted to Captain in 1977, Hughes served as the Superintendent of Aircraft Maintenance and Repair, Director of Naval Aircraft Engineering and as the Aircraft Carrier Project Director. He was promoted Commodore in 1983 and subsequently served as Director General Naval Production until August 1985 at which time he became Director General New Submarines. On 4 August 1986 he was promoted to Rear Admiral and appointed as the RAN Submarine Project Director. He continued to serve in that capacity until his retirement in August 1993 following the launch of the lead vessel of the new Collins class submarines, HMAS Collins.

Following retirement, Rear Admiral Hughes provided consultancy services to Defence and defence industry. In January 1998, he joined the IBM Sydney 2000 Olympics project office, responsible for the operational readiness assurance of applications, systems and the total IT solution for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. In 2004, he resumed his role as a consultant to defence industry. In January 2011, he was appointed an External Gate Review Board Member and independent strategic advisor in the Defence Materiel Organisation, an appointment that he continues to hold.

Rear Admiral Hughes was also a graduate of the Joint Services Staff College. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1983 and an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1989.

Rear Admiral Hughes passed away on 23 September 2014.