Plan Pelorus 2022

In marine navigation, a pelorus is a reference tool for maintaining bearing of a vessel at sea

Chief of Navy intent

A Thinking Navy, A Fighting Navy, An Australian Navy

Global competition has changed our reality across all the domains in which the ADF operates.

We live in an increasingly complex geopolitical environment, within a dynamic Indo-Pacific region. The maritime domain is central to the security and prosperity of our Nation. As resources become increasingly scarce, and the competition greater, all elements of national power must work together to achieve the desired outcomes for our Nation, and those of our friends. Fuelled by technological advances and availability of information, the future is increasingly unpredictable.

Navy has a crucial role to play to support our government and we must continue to evolve and prepare for a myriad of operational possibilities. This is the basis of our 2022 Headmark. Clarity and alignment in our understanding of our Headmark will effectively guide our day-to-day actions.

Plan Pelorus provides Chief of Navy’s Senior Advisory Committee’s direction to Navy for the next four years to achieve our Headmark. It will be revised regularly to enable delivery on our five outcomes.

To achieve our Headmark, the highest priority must be our workforce reconstitution and developing resilience in our workforce – people create capability.

Then we must question the status quo, innovate and take action.


Headmark 22

In 2022 our Navy is ready to conduct sustained combat operations as part of the joint force

This is a significant undertaking when each element of the statement is defined:

We will be fully crewed at sea and staffed ashore, able to train for future demand, and prepared for continued growth.

We will be able to deny, deter and defeat our adversaries in the face of evolving threats and challenges.

We are integrated with the joint force and operate effectively with our allies and like-minded partners.

We will provide sea, air and cyber worthy platforms to the Chief of Joint Operations.

Our resources are optimised to enable conduct of all our activities and our future commitments.

We will be able to maintain a long-term presence away from our home ports.

Near region
Engaged across the Indo-Pacific; we meet all domestic requirements and work closely with our friends and partners in the near region.


Our operating context

It is an important time to be part of Navy

The world is changing, our region is evolving, great power competition is cultivating regional instability and the Indo-Pacific will be the global focal point for the next century.

The Indo-Pacific is driving the world economy and Australia is intrinsically involved with every aspect of this region. This presents both opportunities and challenges for our Nation and our Navy.


We need to know and understand our region, our friends and our threats

Navy must continue to operate our forces throughout our region alongside our allies and like-minded partners. Our forces must be equipped, trained and sustained away from home ports so they are ready and able to take decisive action if threatened. This requires our Navy to have strong and trusting relationships with our neighbours and allies and be able to integrate into multinational task forces for common purpose.


Defence is a national enterprise

The national enterprise essential for delivering our future force is immature, and the value of this endeavour is not yet well understood. Infrastructure, industry, workforce and scientific development are all essential to deliver our joint future force and all areas require investment in terms of both money and the willpower of government, the ADF and the nation.


People first and mission always

Navy’s biggest challenge and greatest opportunity over the next four years is our workforce. Our Navy must grow while competing for intellectual, ethical, skilled and professional people in a highly competitive job market. Our people need to give us a combat edge; they need to be empowered, motivated and resilient. By valuing their contribution, supporting them in difficulties and by inspiring them to excel, we will ensure we retain our best and brightest.


Past success guarantees nothing when the paradigm shifts

The rate of disruptive technological development and adoption across our region will increasingly challenge our ability to maintain a capability advantage. Australia will face new threats in an increasingly congested maritime domain. The information domain will be increasingly challenged, and the speed of information, the power of data and rise of artificial intelligence will all shape our new reality. We must adapt and respond across our enterprise or we will be left behind.

An Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile is fired from HMAS Hobart during test firings off the US West coast. Screen shot from video file.


Provide maritime forces for current operations, exercises, engagements and future contingencies

The Fleet Commander is responsible for providing the right forces at the right time, capable of fighting and winning at sea, and is to support the Chief of Joint Operations to employ our forces to their potential.

This will be enabled through integrated operations with Air Force and Army, increased activities with allies and like-minded partners in our region.


Artist impression of the Hunter Class FFG.


Plan and deliver future maritime systems

Head of Navy Capability is responsible for ensuring that Navy’s capability meets current requirements, evolves with changes in threats and technology, and achieves the joint integrated effect necessary, with an aim to continuously deliver and sustain an agile and lethal naval capability.

We will continue to mature our partnership with industry to de-risk the building, delivery and sustainment of our future capability. This will include remediation of our supply chain to improve security and maximise the use of Australian expertise; and develop sustainable sovereign industry capability.

Flight deck operations aboard HMAS Canberra at sea during Operation SEA EXPLORER, June 2018.


Assure the safety, seaworthiness and airworthiness of our systems

Head of Navy Engineering is responsible for the provision of advice regarding all ADF maritime technical matters and ensuring the ADF policies and practices relating to the Safety, Sea and Air Worthiness Assurance Frameworks are applied.

We will also update our safety due diligence framework and develop a holistic assurance framework covering all aspects of safety, seaworthiness, airworthiness and cyberworthiness. This framework will be embedded across Navy.

East Coast Fleet Divisions on the flight deck of HMAS Canberra, December 2017.


Effectively lead and manage our people

Deputy Chief of Navy is responsible for ensuring that our workforce has the right people, at the right place, at the right time, with the right training and that our people are ready, willing and able to serve where and when required.

We will increase our training throughput as we grow our force. We will build our cognitive diversity and, with it, improve our organisational and individual resilience. We will invest in improving the leadership skills of our entire workforce and, in doing so, we will renew our identity as an Australian Navy, fit to fight and proud to serve.

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Jasmin Butler, shakes hands with Papua New Guinea Defence Force member, Private Max Makai, after a co-operative effort to unload marker buoys from a landing craft at HMPNG Basilisk Naval Base, Port Moresby, in support of APEC.


Provide the required enablers and oversight to achieve Navy outcomes

Deputy Chief of Navy is responsible for ensuring Navy has the resources, enablers and partners required to achieve all directed current and future activities, sustain the force in being and acquire and introduce our future capability into service.

A key focus will be on building robust networks across One Defence to ensure enablers are providing the service that we need to achieve our outcomes. We will continue to invest in our relationships with allies and like-minded partners, working together for shared goals with respect for the rules-based international order.