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The Australian Military

Military Australian Military Tennyson's Militaries 2003

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#1 tennyson

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 01:50 AM

The Austrailian military is currently undergoing a rapid period of change where it reequips its forces to handle a larger regional role in the wake of the withdrawl of American power, the rise of China and increasing regional instability in such places as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomoan Islands.


The present (late 2001) Australian Army is 24,100 strong, including 2600 hundred women, with some 12,000 personnel available to the combat units. It is currently in the process of a considerable investment program to provide the mobility, logistics, and aviation support necessary to produce a readily deployable force capable of operating throughout much of Southeast Asia.

Combat units include
I armoured regiment(integrated into the Ist Integrated task Force, the trials unit of the new rapidly deployable forces)
2 armoured reconnaissance regiments(1 integrated)
1 special Air Service(SAS) regiment
6 infantry battalion(2 integrated)
1 Commando Regiment(integrated)
2 independent armoured personnel carrier squadrons(1 integrated)
1 medium artillery regiment
2 field artillery regiments(1 integrated)
1 air defence regiment(integrated)
3 combat engineer regiments(1 intergated)
2 aviation regiments

These forces are equipped with 71 Leopard 1A3 main battle tanks, 111 LAV-25s, 463 M113 armoured personnel carriers, 296 81mm mortors, 577 84mm Carl Gustav antitank launchers, 74 106mm M40A1 recoilless rifles, 246 M2A2 105mm towed guns, 104 105mm Hamel towed guns, 35 155mm M198 towed guns, 19 Rapier towed surface to air missile launchers and 17 RBS-70 laser-guided manportable surface to air missile launchers.
They are supported by a large avaiation component with 25 UH-1H armed transport helicopters, 35 S70(same family as American UH-60 Black Hawk) transport helicopters, 40 B206 B1(modified Bell Jetranger) scout helicopters, 17 AS350B Squirel liason helicopters and 6 CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters
The Australian Army has bought the Franco-German Tigre attack helicopter for delivery from 2006 onward.

The Australian Navy had(as of 2001) approximately 13,400 active personnel, 6500 reserves of whom 3000 are female. It also employs some 5000 civilians. The Royal Australian navy uses US equipement and systems on its US built warships and Brtish weapons and systems on its older warships, although some ships have been fitted with Dutch sensors.
In service are
6 Collins class diesel-electric submarines
1 Charles F Adams class destroyer
6 Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates
6(plus 2 under construction) ANZAC(MEKO 200) class frigates
15 Freemantl class patrol craft
6 Huon class minehunters
2 Bay class inshore minehunters
6 auxilary minesweepers
2 Ex US Newport class landing ships
1 Bedievre class heavy landing ship
6 Balikpapan class heavy ulity landing craft
4 LCVP
2 underway replenishment ships(French Durance class and British Appleleaf class)
also in service are:
16 SH-60B Seahawk ASW helicopters
11 SH-2G Super Sea Sprite ASW helicopters
8 Sea King helicopters(now used for utility work)
6 AS350B Squrriel ultility helicopters
3 bELL 206b utility helicopters


The Australian Air Force has

75 F/A-18A/B Hornets(of which 71 are being extensively modernized beginning in march of 2002 with a new AN/APG-73 radar, new radios, mapping systems and a helmet mounted sight as well as upgrades to the electronic warfare systems including new radar warning recievers.)
16 F-111Cs, 4 RF-111Cs and 7F-111G fighter-bomber/strike aircraft with another 7 F-111Gs in storage(These are heavily upgraded F-111s capable of launching Harpoon antiship missle, Pavway series of laserguided bombs and the new AGM-142 Popeye standoff missile)
19 P-3C maritime patrol aircraft(they were extensively upgraded from 1996-2001 with new sensors, GPS and the Harpoon antiship missile)
4 Boeing 707-338C Tanker/transports

Australia has become a member of the JSF program with an order for 100 and a comittment of 300 million Australian dollars to the program.

Australian army personnel are currently in Papua New Guinea( in support of the national government against insurrection and as peacekeepers on Bougainville), Malaysia(joint manuvers), Fiji(in support of national government), Solomon Islands(peacekeeping role since 1999), Thailand(joint manuveurs), Vanuatu, Tonga, Western Samoa, and Kiribati.
Thier peacekeeping operations also include troops in Egypt monitoring the Sinai, and the UNTEAT(United Nations Administration-East Timor) since 1999 with the 1st Royal Australian Regiment
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#2 Aric

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 08:40 AM

Hi tennyson, this is a very interesting series.

Would it be possible for you to provide a bit more context and comparison?  I'm not familiar with militaries and weapons of war, and many of the specific names of weapons and such mean nothing to me, so could you perhaps use the nations you're analysing to form a basis of comparison with one another?  Perhaps indicate if Australia's tanks are superior to Canadian tanks, if Australia is getting a better value for its investment in its military than Canada is, who would win a hypothetical war, and the like.  Any analysis would be very helpful!!  Thanks, and I'm looking forward to the rest of your series.

Aric

#3 Rov Judicata

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 07:06 PM

Interesting read.

For those of us who don't know military tech as well as others (and I only know a little bit myself), could you put these threads into perspective? How does Austaria's force compare with the US's?
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#4 tennyson

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 08:41 PM

While Australia has a population of roughly 20 million and Canada has a population of roughly 200 miillion Australia deploys a military of roughly the same size that is significantly better supplied than the Canadian military. Most of Canada's armoured vehicles are in storage or in reserve while almost all of Australia's are active and ready to go. They both use German Leopard 1 tanks that have been upgraded to roughly the same standard as well as LAV variants and US M113 armoured personnel carriers.  The Australian Army's air defence is a little worse than the Canadians on paper because the Rapier and RBS-70 missiles are older and less capable than Canda's ADATS and Starstreak and are less mobile. The Australian Army helicopter component is a little smaller than Canda's but is better maintained and will become vastly more capable than Canada's when the Tiger attack helicopter is delivered.

The F/A-18A/Bs of both Australia and Canada are being upgraded to the same standard, which will place them about even with the early version of the American F/A-18E/F "Super Hornet" in most respects except for thier shorter range. The Australian military is more deployable than the Canadian military, and has a vastly better strike capbility with its F-111s.
Thier navies are roughly compreable although the Ozzies have significantly better ability to move amphibous troops and better minesweeping ships. They also don't have the horrendous problems with thier Collins class submarines that the Canadians have had with thier Upholders.
I'd say the Australians could win against the Canadians because they actually have the ability to reach Canada with a significant force of troops while the Canadians would have to charter ships or rely entirely on airbourne fueled aircraft.
As for the US, Australia is about a generation behind the US in technology and capability but then so is most of the developed world except for Japan. Both the US and Australia use F/A-18s, P-3Cs, Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates and have a host of other weapon systems in common. Most current Australian equipment is of American origin, with some French, German and British systems mixed in. The Ozzies are good soldiers with well maintained equipment and a lot of experience. Thier Special Air Service has some of the best soldiers of its type in the world.
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#5 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:28 PM

Javert Rovinski, on Apr 28 2003, 04:56 PM, said:

How does Austaria's force compare with the US's?
Here are some of the strict numbers for the US.

Quote

Might as well give a very brief rundown of US forces so there is something to compare to. 

USN:
Personnel:
Active Duty:
  -381,523
       - Officers: 54,533
       - Enlisted: 322,801

Reserve: 154,366
  - Selected Reserves: 86,683
        - Individual Ready Reserve: 67,683
Personnel Deployed: 75,554
Ships:
Active: 301 Vessels*
         Carriers:
           - 7 Deployed
           - 2 working up
           - 3 Maintenance
           - 1 to be Commissioned Summer 03 (Ronald Reagan)
         Cruisers:
                         - 27 (Ticonderoga Class)
         Destroyers:
                        - 39+- Arleigh Burke Destroyers
                        - 11 Spruance Destroyers
  Frigates:
   - 30 Perry Class
                Boomers:
   - 14 Ohios
  SSGN
   - 4 Ohios to undergo SSGN conversions with 2 underway now
  Fast Attack:
   - 3 Seawolf Class
   - 51 Los Angeles Class
   - 1 Sturgeon Class (SSN 683 Parche still around?)
  Aircraft:
   Operational: 4,000+

*Note this includes noncombatants. 

USAF: (Not listing AWACs, support aircraft, ANG, or rotary wing)

Active:

Fighter:
F-15 Eagle: 396
F-15E Strike Eagle: 217
F-16 Fighting Falcon: 735
F/A-22 Raptors: 8(?)
Heavy Bomber:
B-1B Lancer: 72
B-2 Spirit: 21
B-52 Stratofortress: 85
Attack/Strike:
A-10: 143
OA-10: 70
AC-130H: 8
AC-130U: 13
F-117A Nighthawk: 55
Recon:
U-2s: 37

Army:
10 Active Combat Divisions:
1st Cavalry Division
3rd Infantry Division
82nd Airborne Division
101st Airborne Division
2nd Infantry Division
1st Infantry Division
1st Armored Division
4th Infantry Division
10th Mountain Division
25th Infantry Division

To give some idea of size 1st Cav Division is around 16,000 soldiers.

I didnít cover the Marines and some of this information is a tad dated since I tossed it together quick.

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#6 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:43 PM

Quote

Tennyson:
I'd say the Australians could win against the Canadians because they actually have the ability to reach Canada with a significant force of troops while the Canadians would have to charter ships or rely entirely on airborne fueled aircraft.

Does Canada even have their own aerial tankers because Iím not aware of any?  As far as I know Iím not aware of any.  I can see the USAF getting the following call; ďHey guys can you loan us some aerial tanker for our attack on Australia?Ē  I agree that Australia has the edge in terms of military power but I would have to say not even Australia has the ability to carry out a successful invasion of the other.  The distance is too far Australian Forces to project a significant amount of their military power that distance.  They might be able to hit Canada with a few long distance airstrikes but nothing on a large scale and the CF-18s would rip them apart.      

They would really need basing rights in the area plus heavy bombers or significant amount of carrier borne aircraft.
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#7 MuseZack

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:43 PM

The Australia-Canada comparison isn't quite fair, though.  Canada is blessed to only have one real land border and share it with a friendly nation (aside from that "54-40 or fight" business awhile back), while Australia, island continent that it is, remains uncomfortably close to huge, populous, not very stable Indonesia.

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#8 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:51 PM

MuseZack, on Apr 28 2003, 09:33 PM, said:

while Australia, island continent that it is, remains uncomfortably close to huge, populous, not very stable Indonesia.
Along with tossing in China and India as other major regional powers.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
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#9 tennyson

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 12:31 AM

According to the August 2002 Combat Aircraft, Canada is fitting out 2 of its five CC-150 Polaris transports as multirole tanker transports to replace the CC-137s(Boeing 707s) that were retired in 1997. They are estimated IOC in 2004 for this modification. So they had tankers and will have them again.
As for the comparison, I just responded to the calls for more analysis and comparing them by population and rescource allocation was the first thing that came to mind.
I think the Australians might be able to land a battalion of reinforced infantry at the range of Canada if they made an allout effort with everything they have although they'd only be supported by helicopters and F-111s operating at pretty much as far as they want to push them in terms of air cover. Considering how low the Canadians readiness is though they might be able to take an island in the Queen Charlotes and hold it like the Japanese did those two Aleutian Islands in World War 2. It would be interesting though. What kind of standoff weapons do the Canadians have for thier F/A-18s anyway? I haven't been able to find a lot about that. My thought about the F/A-18s was that if the Perry's were used right with the other ships serving as picket ships it's Standards would pickoff the F/A-18s and function as a kind of aircover.
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#10 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 01:45 AM

tennyson, on Apr 28 2003, 10:21 PM, said:

What kind of standoff weapons do the Canadians have for thier F/A-18s anyway? I haven't been able to find a lot about that.
20mm roundsÖ  Last I knew Canada had exhausted their supply of air to mud ordnance for the CF-18s.  They used to have some Mavericks and might still have some dumb iron bombs.  

Good point on taking an island and then using it as a basing point.  They might just be able to hold it and neutralize the Canadian Navy/AirForce before jumping to the mainland.

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 29 April 2003 - 01:49 AM.

"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#11 EvilTree

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 08:43 AM

I just can't see Queen Charlotte Islands as viable forward staging base. It's way too mountainous and I doubt there is more than two small airstrips there.

Even if Aussies are able to land troops on Western British Columbia? Where would they go? That area is sheer mountain country and logistic problems would be huge. They'd probably get lost and get ambushed or something. ;)
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#12 eryn

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 09:35 AM

There aren't many airstrips on the Queen Charlottes, the major airstrips would be Sandspit on Moresby island which doesn't accomodiate larger aircraft, or Musset municipal airport which only has around 5,000 ft of paved runway. There are a few other airstrips around but many of them are commonly used for personal aircraft, small planes, etc. Most of the time, people get from the islands to the mainland by a 7 hour long ferry ride to Prince Rupert (Very scenic but boring ride I might add, according to my parents ;))

Not only that, but as EvilTree said, the terrain isn't ideal. I just don't think that be the most ideal place to invade from... Try PEI on the East coast, they have a bridge (The Confederation Bridge and I'm happy I actually remember the name of it :p) to the mainland. ;)

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#13 Aric

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 10:45 AM

Hi Tennyson, thanks for the analysis.  Just a clarification, though, Canada's population is only 31 million.  If we had 200 million people, we'd be the fifth most populated country in the world (China, 1.3 billion, India, 1 billion, US, 285 million, Indonesia, 230 million), almost twice the size of Mexico (105 million), and more than two thirds the size of the US.  The US is over 9 times more populated than Canada.  California alone is more populated than Canada.

I'm not surprised that Australia has a better equipped military, aside from the points Zack and CJ Aegis made, there's the fact that Australian defence spending is a third higher than Canadian spending, and twice Canadian spending in terms of percentage of GDP.  Even with the new increases in military funding in this year's budget, our military spending is still extremely low, and it's barely even keeping pace with our GDP growth.  We might soon be spending less than 1.0% of GDP on defence.

Aric

#14 EvilTree

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 08:00 PM

Actually, with recent increase, I think GDP spending on military is about 1.3%.

And this is a country with 70 general officers. I still haven't figured out what they do exactly yet, except for few.
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"Self control is chef element in self respect. Self respect is chief element in courage."
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#15 tennyson

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 11:02 PM

This will be a lesson to me, don't go by memory alone and try to extrapolate from more than two decades old census data, I'll endevour to be more careful in the future, 31 million it is. Still a lower percentage and the Ozzies are working with a lot less in the way of rescources. . Auatralia taking on Canada is kind of silly in those old US colorcoded strategic plans of the 1920s and 1930s sense. I really didn't want them to go after Vancouver Island since it is the site of the Naval Command's Pacific headquarters but if the F/A-18s are as underequipped as CJ tells me then it just might work. Also,in terms of mountanous terain Sicily was and is still very mountanous with bad roads. That doesn't necessarilly stop the invasion, just makes it harder.
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#16 EvilTree

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 11:25 PM

Canadian soldiers, especially on west coast train a lot on mountain warfare, from what I've heard.
Just from Vancouver area, the army can raise 3 infantry companys, a battery of artillery and a squadron of engineers and at least a troop of light armour units and can expect to meet substiantial resistance.
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#17 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 12:37 AM

Quote

Tennyson: I really didn't want them to go after Vancouver Island since it is the site of the Naval Command's Pacific headquarters but if the F/A-18s are as underequipped as CJ tells me then it just might work.

It does have potential both the Perth and the Perryís have descent air defenses.  Even if the CF-18s had the Mavericks they would still be slightly outranged by SM-1MRs of the naval vessels.  As of a year ago Iím not aware of them having made any move to replenish their depleted Maverick stock.  Now taking them on with iron bombs or even laser guided bombs would be another suicidal proposition and again as far as I know the stocks of those weapons were run dry too.  Trying to strafe a Perry with the cannon isnít exactly a good way to live long so letís rule that out.  

So it would be the Canadian Navy versus the Australian Navy.  That would be an interesting battle.  

Quote

EvilTree: Just from Vancouver area, the army can raise 3 infantry companys, a battery of artillery and a squadron of engineers and at least a troop of light armour units and can expect to meet substiantial resistance.

In regards to artillery the last time I knew Canadaís stocks of artillery shells was down to less than 5,000 shells in the entire country.  That isnít a very large stock to have if you are in a shooting war when it is dispersed around the entire country.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#18 tennyson

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 12:40 AM

This is actually kind of an interesting scenerio so let's go with it, say the Australians have a fleet assembled of 2 Perry class frigates and 4 MEKO200 ANZAC class frigates supported by both thier underway replenshment ships and escourting 1 of thier Newport class and thier Bedivere class landing ship and supported by at most an airstrike a day from F-111s with Harpoons and other precision guided weapons, using a lot of inflight refueling. So the first hurdle for the Australians is however many of the 5 City class frigates are operational(say 4) and maybe one of the Iroquis class destroyers, neither side has submarines for obvious reasons on both sides and unless the Australians say they are on excercises the Canadians with most probably know they are coming in enough time to do something and whatever the Canadians can throw together to put on thier F/A-18s will also be meeting this fleet.
If the Australians can beat the deployed navel forces the landing ships have with them, on the Newport 450 troops, 4 S-70 transport helicopters, 2000 tons of cargo, 2 landing craft, 2 LARC-5 amphibous wheeled vehicles and a 90 bed medical facility and the Bedivere can carry 2 Sea King or other similar size helicopters, 300-500 troops, Leopard tanks and other military vehicles to a total of 1300 tons of cargo, as well as two LCVP landing craft and two LCM-8 landing craft on deck. They could also swapout the SH-60Bs on the Perry's for S-70s since the ASW threat is not that pressing to provide more troop lift.
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— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#19 tennyson

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 01:13 AM

Scratch those F-111s in my last post, after revising my initial back of the envelope calculation, I found I was off by a pretty fair margin. Even assuming the use of both in flight refueling from the RAAF's tankers, F-111 "buddy" refueling, drop tanks and a launch from Papaua New Guinea, the F-111s could only carry two weapons  and unless the ground forces take a base or the US allows them to use thiers they aren't making it back. My earlier estimate was based on an airline route that I didn't discover until just recently actually went to California. Sorry about the confusion.
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— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#20 EvilTree

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 04:11 AM

Well, even if Aussies can land that many resources in West Coast, there is also 1 & 3 PPCLI based on Edmonton, plus armour, arty and engineer units, plus whatever units Land Force Western Area can scrap up in a hurry. I'd say about 7 days to move troops from Alberta to BC, then about a month to fully deploy reserve units.

There is also a brigade ex going on in Wainwright that is soaking up a lot of training funds... Supposedly have good portion of live fire stuff.
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"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
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"Self control is chef element in self respect. Self respect is chief element in courage."
-Thucydides



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