Royal Navy ships have sailed across the Pacific Ocean, heading for the Atlantic to replace ageing vessels from the Royal Australian Navy.
Australia’s new vessels have been launched in Singapore, Perth and Melbourne.
The Royal Australian Air Force is due to retire from the Navy in 2019, but the Government has confirmed that an overhaul of the Royal Navy fleet will be undertaken.
Its the first time that the Royal Fleet has sailed on the Pacific since the 1930s, when Australia was established as a nation in the Western Isles of New Zealand and New Caledonia.
A spokesman for Defence Minister David Johnston said the Royal Australia Air Force’s planned overhaul would allow the Royal New Zealand Navy to return to a service of the kind that it once enjoyed.
“This project will support our future Navy operations in the Pacific and beyond, and provide a further opportunity for Australian personnel to participate in global security operations,” the spokesman said.
In a statement the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it was working with the Government on the ship overhaul, and hoped to have a formal announcement on the project in the coming days.
Mr Johnston said his Government was committed to ensuring the future of the fleet and the security of the people of New South Wales and Victoria.
He said the Navy’s ability to operate in the region had been under threat in recent years.
New South Wales Defence Secretary Michael Pezzullo said the Government was continuing to make the Navy stronger, and had made the Navy a major focus of the Defence Force.
“[But] we have to look at a whole lot of things at the same time,” Mr Pezzully said.
“We have to have greater resources to support the Navy, and the defence workforce.”
The Navy’s capabilities in the future will be enhanced and we will continue to support it.
“Mr Pezzulla said the new fleet was designed to be able to meet the evolving security challenges.
It is due for completion in 2021.