David Johnston News

29 Apr 2018

HMAS Toowoomba Visits Brunei

HMAS Toowoomba departed Fleet Base East for a three month deployment to South East Asia. Photo courtesy HMAS Toowoomba visits Brunei Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Toowoomba has completed a port visit to Brunei, as part of a three month South East Asia deployment. HMAS Toowoomba will join Exercise Bersama Shield, a multilateral activity with the Five Power Defence Arrangement nations, in the coming weeks. HMA Ships Anzac, Toowoomba and Success are conducting a deployment to South East Asia and will participate in a series of exercises with nations in the region. Toowoomba conducted a logistic resupply, as well as local engagements with the Royal Brunei Navy and government officials.

09 Mar 2018

Tenth Successful Interdiction for HMAS Warramunga

Photo: Australian Government

HMAS Warramunga’s crew has seized record amounts of narcotics on Operation Manitou following their latest interdiction. In the latest haul, the crew of the Royal Australian Navy frigate seized approximately 132 kilograms of heroin valued at almost $40 million while patrolling international waters of the Arabian Sea on 6 March 2018. The illegal narcotics interdiction is Warramunga’s third seizure in the past seven days having also seized in excess of eight tonnes of hashish from two vessels just days earlier.

20 Jul 2017

Australia Conducts Amphibious Task Group Drill

 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment disembark a Landing Craft from HMAS Canberra during a major amphibious beach landing operation during Exercise Talisman Saber. Photo: Royal Australian Navy.

Australia’s amphibious capability was put to the test recently as the Amphibious Task Group Headquarters took charge of the largest amphibious assault conducted by an Australian force for 70 years as part of Exercise TALISMAN SABER. The assault, led from amphibious sssault ship HMAS Canberra, was a significant milestone in the Australian Defence Force’s development of a high end amphibious warfare capability. The Australian and New Zealand Amphibious Ready Group, consisting of HMA Ships Canberra and Choules and the Royal New Zealand Navy’s HMNZS Canterbury…

30 Jun 2017

Australian Navy Begins Talisman Saber

HMAS Canberra and HMAS Choules form up outside Sydney Heads enroute to participate in Exercise Talisman Saber 2017. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Australia's largest military exercise, Talisman Saber, was officially opened on 29 June aboard the United States Landing Helicopter Dock Bonhomme Richard off the Sydney coast. Minister for Urban Development, the Honourable Paul Fletcher MP, representing the Minister for Defence, and the US Charge d'Affaires, Mr James Carouso, officially announced the start of the combined military exercise taking place thorought July. Field training will occur in Shoalwater Bay Training Area, near Rockhampton and Mount Bundy Training Area, south of Darwin.

20 Jun 2017

Ballarat Completes Malaysian Visit

HMAS Ballarat along with warships from Singapore, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Indonesia, New Zealand and Russia in formation for the Singaporean Navy's 50th Anniversary International Fleet Review. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Australia's HMAS Ballarat has completed a port visit to Sepanggar, Malaysia as part of a three month South East Asia deployment. She was in the region to enagage with the Royal Malaysian Navy, and load supplies before she returns to Australia for further exercises. Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said Ballarat’s deployment provided an opportunity to engage with many nations in South East Asia. “Our enduring military to military engagement activities contribute to security and stability in our region,” he said.

12 Jun 2017

Ballarat Completes Multi-National Passage Exercise

HMAS Ballarat (centre) conducts a Passage Exercise in the South China Sea with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ships Izumo and Sazanami and the Royal Canadian ship HMCS Winnipeg. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat has completed a passage exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Royal Canadian Navy and United States Navy ships during her South East Asia deployment. The exercise, conducted in the South China Sea from 8-10 June, included Japanese ships Izumo and Sazanami, Canadian ship Winnipeg and USS Sterett. The ships completed close quarters manoeuvres, helicopter operations, personnel exchanges, gunnery exercises and air defence training.

18 Apr 2017

Ballarat Exercises with PLA-N

Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Ballarat and Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) Jiangkai II class frigate 'Huangshan', conduct exercises on completion of HMAS Ballarat's port visit to Zhanjiang, China. Photo:  Royal Australian Navy

HMAS Ballarat has taken part in a range of maritime exercises with People’s Liberation Army – Navy vessel Huangshan following a successful visit to the People’s Republic of China. Conducted after Ballarat departed Zhanjiang port, the activities included surface target firing, a search and rescue exercise, communication exercises and a formation activity with aerial photography. The Chinese and Australian navies conduct regular exercises to enhance mutual understanding, facilitate transparency and build trust.

29 Apr 2016

How France Sank Japan's Sub Dream

Ousting of Japan ally PM Abbott opened door to rivals; Tokyo slow to respond to new competitive process. In 2014, a blossoming friendship between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe looked to have all but sewn up a $40 billion submarine deal. Then French naval contractor DCNS hatched a bold and seemingly hopeless plan to gatecrash the party. Almost 18 months later, France this week secured a remarkable come-from-behind victory on one of the world's most lucrative defense deals. The result: Tokyo's dream of fast-tracking a revival of its arms export industry is left in disarray. Interviews with more than a dozen Japanese…

06 Mar 2016

HMAS Darwin Seizes Huge Weapons Cache

The large illicit weapons cache was destined for Somalia Photo by RAN

HMAS Darwin’s boarding team has uncovered and seized a large weapons cache, following a boarding of a fishing vessel during their deployment to the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU. Operating under Combined Task Force 150, responsible for counter-terrorism operations within the Middle East Region, Darwin intercepted the fishing vessel approximately 170 nautical miles (313 kilometres) off the coast of Oman to conduct a flag verification boarding. After assessing the vessel to be stateless…

29 Dec 2015

Drugs Seized at Sea: HMAS Melbourne Makes 4th Drug Bust

HMAS Melbourne Narcotics seizure: HMAS Melbourne is conducting Maritime security Operations under the authority of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean during her deployment in the Middle East Region on Operation MANITOU, Australians contribution to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). (Copyright: Australian Department of Defence; Photographer ABS Bonny Gassner)

HMAS Melbourne personnel have completed a fourth successful drug seizure for Operation MANITOU after seizing 118kg of heroin from a fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean. The ship’s boarding party completed a thorough search of the vessel on December 26 and discovered 118kg of drugs hidden inside which was subsequently transported onboard HMAS Melbourne for further analysis and disposal. Specialized equipment onboard the Australian Guided Missile Frigate identified the drugs as high grade heroin which is valued at approximately $108.8 million based on Australian Crime Commission figures.

04 Dec 2015

HMAS Melbourne Seizes $44.5 mln Heroin

HMAS Melbourne's boarding party approaches a suspicious fishing vessel.

HMAS Melbourne recently seized 151 kilograms of heroin worth an estimated $AUD44.5 million from a dhow off the east coast of Africa. The drug haul is the second for HMAS Melbourne’s current deployment to the Middle East region, bringing the total weight of heroin seized to more 578 kilograms in two months. Commander Joint Operations Command, Vice Admiral David Johnston said the haul raised the Royal Australian Navy’s 2015 drug seizures in the Middle East region to almost $600 million.

03 Nov 2015

RAN, French Navy Hold Joint Exercises in S. China Sea

HMAS Stuart sailors stand at ease on the forecastle as they and HMAS Arunta prepare to come alongside in Zhanjiang, China.

HMA Ships Arunta, Stuart and Sirius, have rendezvoused at sea with the French frigate FNS Vendemiaire as part of a Royal Australian Navy Task Group deployment to North and South East Asia. Following successful port visits to Zhanjiang, China, by HMA Ships Arunta and Stuart and Da Nang, Vietnam, by HMAS Sirius, the ships have rendezvoused at sea with the French frigate FNS Vendemiaire in international waters off the coast of Vietnam. The assembly of the French and RAN warships presented another valuable opportunity for the navies of Australia and France to exercise together…

07 Oct 2015

HMAS Melbourne Intercepts 427kg Heroin

HMAS Melbourne keeps watch over an intercepted dhow in the Indian Ocean. HMAS Melbourne's crew boarded the vessel and discovered 427kg of heroin that was confiscated and subsequently destroyed.

HMAS Melbourne’s crew has seized 427 kilograms of heroin hidden in a fishing dhow carrying the illegal drugs across the Indian Ocean. The intercept occurred during Melbourne’s first patrol of her current Operation MANITOU deployment to the Middle East Region assigned to the multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). Illegal narcotics are a common source of funding for terrorist organisations and HMAS Melbourne’s Commanding Officer, Commander Bill Waters, said the drugs had an estimated Australian street value of at least AUD$126 million.

08 Jul 2015

Australian Navy Drug Seizures Top $1.7 bln in 2 Years

HMAS Newcastle tracks a dhow on July 3, 2014 off the East Coast of Africa and from which it siezed 138 kg of heroin. (Photo: Brenton Freind)

In its sixth haul in eight weeks, Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Newcastle seized 139kg of heroin, with an estimated street value of around $41 million AUD ($30.5 million USD), off the East coast of Africa. Under the auspices of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the latest haul brings the Australian Navy’s total seizures in the Middle East region over the last two years to an estimated street value of $2.3 billion AUD (approximately $1.7 billion USD). The Chief of Joint Operations…

16 Apr 2015

Australia: Submarines Excluded from Shipbuild Review

Pics: Australian Shipbuilders Association Limited

The Australian Navy’s future submarine project has been excluded from the country's shipbuilding review on advice from the Abbott government that the new fleet would be built offshore. The review’s final report, published on Thursday, contained some passing references to the future submarine project, including the fact the government had been looking at offshore construction of the fleet. "Australia's $40 billion future submarine project was left out of a key consultant's report on the local shipbuilding industry on the instructions of the Abbott government," says an observer.

17 Mar 2015

Australia Favored Foreign Submarines

Australian submariner, Pic by Royal Australian Navy

The Australian Government was in favour that most submarine building would be done overseas, says a report in ABC. Cabinet’s national security committee last October favoured Australia’s new submarine fleet being mostly constructed overseas with the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) having only limited work, according to the ABC’s Four Corners. The program was told this “by sources intimately involved with the project”. The submarines became an issue for Tony Abbott in the run up to the unsuccessful motion to spill the leadership…

19 Dec 2014

Japan Gains Edge in Australia Submarine Deal

Australia and Japan appear to be inching closer to an agreement on the sale the top-secret technology from Japan to build a fleet of new generation submarines. Size, technology and stealth are proving too great a draw for Canberra. Australia is considering buying top-secret technology from Japan to build a fleet of next-generation submarines, a move that would risk reigniting diplomatic tensions with China that have only recently died down, says a report in Japan Times. China and Japan are competing to build up their domestic arms industries, and for China, the export of Japanese military technology is particularly sensitive given their wartime history and territorial disputes.

09 Dec 2014

Oz For a Sustainable Naval Shipbuilding Industry

Defence Minister Senator David Johnston

Senator David Johnston, the Australian Minister of Defence announced about the government's was committed to creating a sustainable naval shipbuilding industry. He informed that the Government would be investing in a safe and secure Australia. As part of this commitment – and building towards the release of the Defence White Paper – the Government today announces a three point plan that will create a sustainable naval shipbuilding industry that supports shipbuilding jobs. * Firstly, the Government will work with industry to fix the Air Warfare Destroyer program.

09 Dec 2014

RAN's Warfare Destroyer Program Being Revamped

Pacific Sentinel

In a joint press release the Australian Minister for Finance Senator Mathias Cormann and Minister for Defence David Johnston stated. that the shipbuilding expertise will to be inserted into the Air Warfare Destroyer program. In this regards the release said,"We are taking the next major step to put the $8.5 billion Air Warfare Destroyer program back on track to deliver critical capability for the Royal Australian Navy. Following competitive procurement processes, BAE Systems,…

25 Nov 2014

Australian Defence Minister Says Would Not Trust Submarine Firm to Build Canoe

Australia's defence minister has said he would not trust state-owned Australian Submarine Corp (ASC) "to build a canoe", fuelling expectations that most work in a A$40 billion ($34 billion) program will go offshore. Reuters reported in September that Australia was leaning towards buying as many as 12 off-the-shelf stealth submarines from Japan. Responding to questions in the Australian Senate on Tuesday, David Johnston highlighted cost over-runs on other projects and a lack of experience in submarine design at ASC. "You wonder why I am worried about ASC and what they are delivering to the Australian taxpayer. Do you wonder why I wouldn't trust them to build a canoe?" Johnston told lawmakers. "Let's get real here ...

07 Sep 2014

RAAF Rescues Sailor in Distress near Lord Howe Island

RAAF C-130J

The crew onboard a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules transport aircraft helped rescue a lone sailor during a maritime emergency off Lord Howe Island. The C-130J Hercules from Number 37 Squadron at RAAF Richmond responded to a call for help from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). The C-130J was one of four aircraft AMSA called to assist, including AMSA’s Essendon based dedicated search and rescue Dornier aircraft, a civil aircraft and a Customs and Border Protection Dash 8.

01 Aug 2014

RIMPAC Draws ADF Closer to Amphibious Future

HMAS Success maintains her assigned station on the Guide during the Fleet Formation serial, in which 38 warships and four submarines sailed in close company, testing the seamanship skills of bridge watchkeeping staff. The serial took 11 hours and resulted in an arial photograph of all the participating RIMPAC 14 ships and submarines.

More than 800 Australian Navy, Army and Air Force personnel are on their way home after taking part in RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval exercise, which concluded in Hawaii today. Australia sent the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ship HMAS Success and Submarine HMAS Sheean, a rifle company from 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment and three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion aircraft to the exercise to conduct military training with defense forces from 21 other Pacific Rim nations.

28 Jul 2014

New Australian Navy Submarines to be Japan Built?

HMAS Sheean: Image credit RAN

Australia should discuss building its next-generation fleet of submarines overseas, the Department of Defence said on Monday, a shift that could open the door to a partnership deal with Japan that carries political risk at home and abroad. Australia is looking for partners to help it build about a dozen diesel-electric submarines to replace its aging Collins Class fleet and help to extend its maritime surveillance deep into the Indian Ocean. The proposed A$40 billion fleet of submarines is at the core of the nation's maritime defence strategy over the next two decades.

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