Commander Australian Fleet

Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT), also referred to as Fleet Commander, is a senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), holding full command of all Navy combat forces and responsibility for all maritime operations within the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The rank associated with the position is Rear Admiral (2-star).

The title first came into use in 2007. Previous titles for the position since 1913 have been:

  • Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Fleet (1913-1926)
  • Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron (1926-1949)
  • Flag Officer Commanding HM Australian Fleet (1949-1988, regularly abbreviated as FOCAF)
  • Maritime Commander Australia (1988-2007 - MCAUST).

The Fleet Commander is the primary operations advisor to the Chief of Navy. Additionally CN has delegated full command of all of the RAN’s ships, submarines, aircraft squadrons, diving teams and shore establishments to the Fleet Commander, who is responsible for force generation. This includes the group and joint collective training of fleet units and overseeing the maintenance and support of ships, aircraft and other equipment, to enable the fleet to reach and maintain required levels of readiness.

The Fleet Commander exercises command of shore establishments through Commander Shore Force (COMSHORE) and delegates operational command of units to the various force commanders. Operational control of fleet units will usually be delegated to the Director General Maritime Operations (DGMAROPS), with tactical command either held by DGMAROPS or delegated to Commodore Warfare (COMWAR), a subordinate tactical warfare commander, a nominated Commander Task Group (CTG) or ship’s commanding officer, depending on circumstances.

When naval forces are needed for joint, multinational or other specific operations CDF will direct the Chief of Navy to assign those forces to CJOPS. At all other times these forces will be available for training, and other activities, as directed by the Fleet Commander. Within Fleet Command, responsibilities are delegated to a number of senior officers. These are:

  • Director General Maritime Operations (DGMAROPS)
  • Commodore Warfare (COMWAR)
  • Force Commanders.

Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead RAN was appointed Commander Australian Fleet on 18 January 2018.

RADM Christopher Smith

Rear Admiral Christopher Smith

Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, AM, CSM, RAN, assumed the role of Commander Australian Fleet on 16 December 2022.  Rear Admiral Smith joined the Royal Australian Naval College in 1989. His seagoing...

List of Previous Commanders Australian Fleet

(2022 - 2022)

Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley

Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, CSC, RAN, assumed the role of Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Navy on the 16th of December 2022. Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley was born in Perth, Western Australia,...

VADM Mark Hammond
(2020 - 2022)

Vice Admiral Mark Hammond

Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, AO, RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1986 as an Electronics Technician, before commissioning as a Naval Officer in 1988. Graduating from the Australian Defence Force...

VADM Jonathan Mead
(2018 - 2020)

Vice Admiral Jonathan Dallas Mead

Jonathan Dallas Mead joined the Royal Australian Naval College in 1984 and graduated in 1986 with a Diploma of Applied Science. He specialised in Mine Clearance Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal...

VADM Stuart Mayer
(2014 - 2018)

Vice Admiral Stuart Campbell Mayer

Stuart Campbell Mayer joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1984 and commenced training as a Seaman Officer. He gained his Bridge Watchkeeping Certificates in the patrol boat HMAS Gladstone and...

VADM Tim Barrett
(2011 - 2014)

Vice Admiral Tim Barrett

Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1976 as a Seaman Officer and later specialised in aviation. A dual-qualified officer, Vice Admiral Barrett served in His...

RADM Steve Gilmore
(2009 - 2011)

Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore

Steve Gilmore joined the Royal Australian Navy as a junior entry Cadet Midshipman in 1977. After receiving his full Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate in 1983, he was posted as an officer of the watch...

RADM Nigel Coates
(2007 - 2009)

Rear Admiral Nigel Coates

Nigel Stephen Coates was born on 8 March 1959 and entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1975, graduating from initial training with the Queen's Gold Medal as the dux of his graduating year....

RADM Davyd Thomas
(2005 - 2007)

Rear Admiral Davyd Rhys Thomas

Davyd Rhys Thomas was born and raised in Newcastle and joined the Navy in 1974. A graduate of the RAN College, he served as a Seaman Officer in a wide variety of platforms, including patrol boats,...

(2004 - 2005)

Rear Admiral Rowan Carlisle Moffitt

Rowan Moffitt was born in Sydney on 29 November 1955 and educated there prior to entering the Royal Australian Naval College as a senior entry Midshipman in 1974; graduating at the end of 1975. After...

(2002 - 2004)

Rear Admiral Raydon William Gates

Raydon Gates entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1972 as a senior entry Midshipman and graduated in 1974. His early career was spent primarily at sea serving in more than 15 ships with two...