About the Royal Australian Navy

The Australian White Ensign.

The Royal Australian Navy is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces. Originally intended for local defence, the navy was granted the title of ‘Royal Australian Navy’ in 1911.

The Royal Australian Navy provides maritime forces that contribute to the Australian Defence Force’s capacity to defend Australia, contribute to regional security, support global interests, shape the strategic environment and protect national interests.

This is achieved by providing maritime patrol and response, interdiction and strategic strike, protection of shipping and off-shore territories and resources, maritime intelligence collection and evaluation, and escort duties.

Peacetime activities include maritime surveillance and response within Australia's offshore maritime zones, hydrographic, oceanographic and meteorological support operations, humanitarian and disaster relief, and maritime search and rescue.


To prepare naval power in order to enable the joint force in peace and war

Navy contributes to the Defence Mission (Defending Australia and its national interests) by providing safe seaworthy, airworthy and battleworthy ships, submarines, aircraft and specialist teams to meet operational commitments. The provision of these assets contributes to maintaining sovereignty and security in Australia’s region.

The provision of seaworthy, airworthy and battleworthy Navy assets encompasses all elements of the ADF for which the Chief of Navy is the Capability Manager. Navy contributes to Defence Purpose 1: Defend Australia and its national interests through Plan Pelorus and the Navy Warfighting Strategy. It contributes to Defence Purpose 2: Protect and advance Australia’s strategic interests through Plan Mercator, the Navy International Engagement Plan, participation in both Multinational and National exercises, plus regular Navy-to-Navy talks.


An Australian Navy renowned for excellence in service to the nation

Our vision is consistently interpreted and shared by all through our motto: To fight and win at sea.