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 Australian Defence Force overview




The ADF comprises the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Special Operations Command. Australia's Department of Defence administers the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO) consisting of the ADF and the civilian personnel supporting the ADF. The civilian support consists of activities such as the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO), the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), The Defence Signals Directorare, and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) that provides science and technology support to the defence forces. The main military academy for the Australian Defence Force is the Australian Defence Force Academy which is a Tri-Service academy.

Military Manpower

Military age 16 years of age for selection process, 17 and 9 months is actual serving age (As of 2005)  males
Fit for military service males age 16-49: 4,092,717 (2005 est.)
Availability age 16-49: 4,943,676 (2005 est.)
Reaching military age annually males: 142,158 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures

Amount $16.65 billion (2004)
Percent of GDP 2.7% (2004)


Fig.1 ADF Command Structure




Recent Major Projects


Army        Navy       Air Force       Joint




  • M113 Upgrade Project 
    LAND 106
    Last updated/reviewed: 27 Oct 05
    This project involves the modification of M113A1 vehicles to a higher standard.
  • Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) 
    LAND 112
    Last updated/reviewed: 25 May 05
    Project ASLAV is procuring 8x8 wheeled light armoured vehicles. The vehicles are designed to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance activities over large distances with minimal logistic support.
  • Bushranger 
    LAND 116
    Last updated/reviewed: 25 May 05
    Project BUSHRANGER will increase Army mobility by equipping selected Infantry battalions and their supporting elements with Infantry Mobility Vehicles (IMV).
  • Soldier Combat System 
    LAND 125
    Last updated/reviewed: 13 Dec 05
    LAND 125 Soldier Combat System will enhance the performance of the individual close combat soldier and small teams as part of a network enabled force.
  • Raising the Full Time Commando Capability 
    LAND 132
    Last updated/reviewed: 13 Dec 05
    This project aims to improve the Australian Defence Forces (ADFs) Special Operations Group by raising 4th Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR) as a full time Commando Unit.

  • Combat Training Centre - LIS 
    LAND 134 Phase 1
    Last updated/reviewed: 13 Dec 05
    Live Simulation, Range Instrumentation and Training Information System for the Australian Army’s Combat Training Centre.
  • Artillery Replacement - 105mm & 155mm 
    LAND 17
    Last updated/reviewed: 13 Dec 05
    LAND 17 will enhance the Australian Army indirect fire support system through the replacement or enhancement of the 105mm Hamel Howitzer and 155mm M198 Howitzer fleet, when they reach the end of their service life.
  • Direct Fire Support Weapon 
    LAND 40
    Last updated/reviewed: 13 Dec 05
    This project seeks to provide a medium range, direct fire guided weapon for attacking bunkers, buildings and armoured vehicles; and also a range of direct fire support weapons for use by an Infantry Battalion.

  • Night Fighting and Surveillance Equipment (NINOX) 
    LAND 53
    Last updated/reviewed: 29 Aug 05
    Project NINOX seeks to introduce a range of night fighting and ground based surveillance capabilities to the Australian Defence Force. This includes night fighting equipment, thermal surveillance and target locating equipment, ground surveillance radar, perimeter surveillance equipment, and unattended ground sensors.

  • Main Battle Tank Replacement 
    LAND 907
    Last updated/reviewed: 20 May 05
    This project will replace the current Leopard tank so that Australia retains a supportable, survivable and interoperable tank capability.

  • Small Arms Life of Type Extension 
    LAND 91 Phase 6
    Last updated/reviewed: 15 Dec 05
    LAND 91 Phase 6 will extend the life of Australian Defence Force (ADF) small arms, such as the F88 Steyr and F89 Minimi Machine Gun.



  • Active Missile Decoy (AMD) 
    SEA 1229 Phase1, 2, & 3
    Last updated/reviewed: 09 Dec 05
    The mission of the Active Missile Decoy (AMD) Project is to provide an off-board soft kill self defence weapon system for protection of RAN ships against radio frequency seeker anti-ship missiles.

  • ANZAC Ships 
    SEA 1348 Phase 2
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 05
    The aim of SEA 1348 is to acquire ANZAC Class frigates for the RAN and RNZN (8 for RAN and 2 for RNZN)

  • ANZAC Ship Project - Underwater & Surface War Fighting Upgrade Pgm 
    SEA 1348 Phase 3
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 05
    Approved in May 1997, this phase is an Australian only activity and will cover improvements to the Anti Surface Warfare and Anti Submarine Warfare capabilities of the ships operated by the RAN.
  • NULKA 
    SEA 1397
    Last updated/reviewed: 09 Dec 05
    The Nulka project is to produce, evaluate and provide through life support of a hovering rocket launcher and decoy to protect ships from Anti-Ship Missiles.
  • Anzac Ship Helicopters 
    SEA 1411
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 04
    Project Sea 1411 is to acquire Super Seasprite Helicopters for operations primarily from the ANZAC class Frigate.
  • Anzac Ship Helicopter Missile Project 
    SEA 1414
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 04
    Project Sea 1414 is for the acquisition of Penguin MK2 MOD 7 Air to Surface Missiles for the SH-2G (A) Super Seasprite helicopter.
  • Evolved SEASPARROW 
    SEA 1428
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 04
    The Evolved SEASPARROW Missile (ESSM) program is an international cooperative venture to develop and produce an improved version of the RIM-7P NATO SEASPARROW Missile.
  • Heavyweight Torpedoes 
    SEA 1429
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 05
    Project SEA 1429 Replacement Heavyweight Torpedo is a multi phased project that seeks to acquire an anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and anti-submarine warfare(ASW) heavyweight torpedo for the COLLINS Class submarines.
  • Collins Class Replacement Combat System 
    SEA 1439
    Last updated/reviewed: 28 Nov 05
    Project SEA 1439 Phase 4A will acquire a Replacement Combat System (RCS) and its associated support infrastructure for the Collins Class Submarine Fleet.
  • Armidale Class Patrol Boat Project 
    SEA 1444
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 05
    Under SEA 1444, Defence proposes to acquire replacements for the Fremantle Class Patrol Boats, which are approaching the end of their Life of Type.
  • ANZAC Anti-ship Missile Defence Project 
    SEA 1448
    Last updated/reviewed: 06 Dec 05
    The ASMD upgrades will ensure the ANZAC frigates have a reasonable level of self defence against modern anti-ship missiles.
  • Minehunter Coastal Project 
    SEA 1555
    Last updated/reviewed: 28 Nov 05
    The ADF Mine Warfare Force is undergoing significant redevelopment to provide a balanced and effective mine countermeasure (MCM) capability.

    Air Force


  • Project Wedgetail - Airborne Early Warning and Control 
    AIR 5077
    Last updated/reviewed: 18 Nov 05
    Project AIR 5077 has been established to acquire an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capability. The AEW&C capability will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with an enhanced surveillance capability in the broad expanse of the Australian north.
  • Australian Defence Air Traffic System 
    AIR 5186
    Last updated/reviewed: 13 Dec 05
    The Australian Defence Air Traffic System (ADATS) will replace Air Traffic Control (ATC) equipment at Defence sites around Australia.
  • P3 Update Implementation 
    AIR 5276 Phase 2A
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 04
    Australian Defence’s P-3C Update Implementation Project involves substantial modification of the RAAF P-3C Orion fleet and provision of a new range of mission and engineering support systems at RAAF Base Edinburgh, SA.
  • AP-3C Advanced Flight Simulator 
    AIR 5276 Phase 3
    Last updated/reviewed: 28 Nov 05
    Phase 3 is an approved project that seeks to replace the existing P-3C Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) flight simulator.
  • Tactical Fighter Lead-in Trainer HAWK 
    Air 5367
    Last updated/reviewed: 29 Nov 05
    The Lead-In Fighter Project was established to provide and support an outstanding state-of-the-art fast jet training capability for the Royal Australian Air Force.
  • F/A-18 Hornet Upgrade 
    Air 5376
    Last updated/reviewed: 28 Nov 05
    Project Air 5376 was established to manage the upgrade of the RAAF F/A-18 fleet to incorporate enhancements that will allow the aircraft to more effectively perform its air defence tasks.
  • F-111 Interim EW Self Protection 
    AIR 5391 Phase 6
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 04
    This project seeks the priority acquisition of an interim EW self protection capability for the F-111. The majority of contracts for the project activities have been placed.
  • ADF Air Refuelling Capability 
    AIR 5402
    Last updated/reviewed: 29 Nov 05
    Airborne refuelling of aircraft provides a military commander with a force-multiplying effect by allowing a fixed number of aircraft to remain airborne longer, carry more ordnance or fly further than would otherwise be the case.
  • Project Arrangement between Australia & US to Collaborate on Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE) 
    AIR 5406
    Last updated/reviewed: 12 Jun 03
    The Australian aim of Project AIR 5406 is to develop local capabilities and processes which provide self-reliant support for the ADF’s future aircraft EWSP programs.




  • Joint Theatre Distribution 
    JP 126
    Last updated/reviewed: 21 Dec 05
    The primary mission of JP 126 is to ensure “the synchronised delivery of equipment, materiel and personnel within joint theatres of operations, at the required time and in the required quantities and condition in order to support the joint commander’s missions”.
  • Establishment of Tactical Assault Group (East) 
    JP 2088 Phase 1
    Last updated/reviewed: 13 Dec 05
    This project is responsible for developing the Australian Defence Forces (ADFs) second permanent Tactical Assault Group (East).
  • Airborne Surveillance for Land Operations 
    JP 129
    Last updated/reviewed: 21 Dec 05
    JP129 seeks to enhance the Australian Defence Force’s ability to detect, locate, identify, and monitor military or other targets of interest in nominated or unspecified areas of operation.

  • Incident Response Regiment Equipment Capability 
    JP 141/2087
    Last updated/reviewed: 15 Dec 05
    JP 141 was raised to acquire and bring into service new equipment and enhance existing Chemical, Biological and Radiological Response (CBRR) equipment systems to provide an effective long-term CBRR capability. JP 2087 was raised to provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with a permanent capability to respond to Chemical, Biological, Nuclear or Explosive incidents through an Incident Response Regiment (IRR).
  • Establishment of Special Operations Command 
    JP 199
    Last updated/reviewed: 13 Dec 05
    In late 2002, the Australian Government directed the establishment of Special Operations Command (SOCOMD). JP 199 is the project set up to conduct this task.
  • Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) 
    JP 2025
    Last updated/reviewed: 04 Nov 05
    The Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) project consists of two over-the-horizon radars (OTHR), one near Longreach, Qld. and the other near Laverton, WA, jointly operated from the JORN Coordination Centre (JCC) at RAAF Base Edinburgh, SA by No 1 Radar Surveillance Unit.
  • Amphibious Watercraft 
    JP 2048
    Last updated/reviewed: 07 Dec 05
    The Amphibious Watercraft Project, Joint Project 2048 Phase 1A acquire and introduce into service a new amphibious Watercraft System for the Amphibious Transports (LPAs), HMA Ships MANOORA and KANIMBLA.
  • Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment Capability 
    JP 2048 Phase 4
    Last updated/reviewed: 15 Dec 05
    This project seeks to replace the capability of the current range of ADF amphibious platforms.
  • ADF Deployable Medical Capability 
    JP 2060
    Last updated/reviewed: 29 Aug 05
    This project seeks to enhance the Australian Defence Force (ADF) deployable health capability to provide health service support for deployed forces.
  • Lightweight ASW Torpedoes 
    JP 2070
    Last updated/reviewed: 30 Nov 05
    Joint Project 2070 is a phased project that seeks the acquisition of an effective Anti-Submarine Warfare weapon for the Australian Defence Force.

  • Battle Space Communications - Land 
    JP 2072
    Last updated/reviewed: 07 Nov 05
    Australia's Defence 2000 White Paper 'Our Future Defence Force'identified the requirement to provide communication capabilities that can support Australian operations throughout our territory and our immediate region with increased capacity to support a range of new information systems.
  • ADF Aerial Target System (Kalkara) 
    JP 7
    Last updated/reviewed: 01 Dec 04
    Joint Project 7 is providing the Australian Defence Force with a cost effective aerial target system that requires minimal personnel to operate and maintain.


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