Head of Navy Engineering

Head Navy Engineering (HNE) is responsible to the Chief of Navy (CN) for:

  • Naval engineering
  • maintenance discipline upkeep
  • Navy safety management governance
  • Fleet Support Unit strategic management
  • the design, implementation and upkeep of the Defence Seaworthiness Management System. 

The rank associated with the position is Rear Admiral (2-star).

Rear Admiral Rachel Durbin

Key appointments

Head Navy Engineering (2023 - present)


Rear Admiral Rachel Durbin, CSC, RAN, grew up in the NSW Snowy Mountains and joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1993 through the Australian Defence Force Academy as a Marine Engineer. She spent her sea-time onboard HMA Ships Westralia, Anzac, Canberra and Perth deployed on operations in the Persian Gulf, conducting exercises in North and South East Asia, fisheries operations in the Southern Ocean and border protection off Northern Australia.

Following promotion to Captain in 2013, RADM Durbin enjoyed strategic roles within the Rizzo Reform Program, Major Surface Ships Sustainment (CASG) and Navy Capability Division. On promotion to CDRE in 2021, RADM Durbin served as Director General Engineering—Navy from 2021–2023. In March 2023 RADM Durbin was promoted to Rear Admiral and assumed the role of Head Navy Engineering. She has also served within the Navy Leadership and Culture Program and Navy Workforce Management responsible for engineering workforce requirements and remediation.

RADM Durbin was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical), Master in Engineering Management, Master in Arts in Strategy and Management, is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. She is also a graduate of both the Australian Command and Staff Course and the Defence Strategic Studies Course.