In September 2021, Australia, United Kingdom and the United States formed a new three-way strategic defense alliance under the name AUKUS. It is initially found to build a class of nuclear-propelled submarines, but also to work together in the Indo-Pacific region, where the rise of China is seen as an increasing threat, and develop wider technologies. Australia ended the contract for this reason but was given to France in 2016 to build 12 diesel electric-powered submarines to replace its existing Collins submarine fleet. The deal marks the first time the US has shared nuclear propulsion technology with an ally apart from the UK.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) fleet is made up of 43 commissioned warships and 3 non-commissioned as of April 2021.
  • 8 frigates and three destroyers of the surface combatant force:
  • 8Anzac class frigates and three Hobart class destroyers.
  • 6 Collins-class boats make up the submarine service, although due to the maintenance cycle not all submarines are active at any time. The issues have now been fixed and five submarines are available for service.
  • 2 Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ships
  • 1 landing ship HMAS Choules.
  • 12 Armidale-class patrol boats perform coastal and economic exclusion zone patrols,
  • 4 Huon-class vessels are used for minehunting and clearance (another two are commissioned but in reserve since October 2011).
  • 2 supply ships HMAS Sirius and HMAS Supply
  • 2 Leeuwin-class vessels perform survey and charting duties.
  • 2 Paluma-class vessels perform survey and charting duties.
  • 2 Cape-class patrol boats.

The lion's share of the RAN fleet is divided between Fleet Base East (HMAS Kuttabul, in Sydney) and Fleet Base West (HMAS Stirling, near Perth). Mine warfare assets are located at HMAS Waterhen (also in Sydney), while HMAS Cairns in Cairns and HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin host the navy's patrol and survey vessels.

The RAN will acquire nuclear submarines (and other, non-nuclear, weapons) after Australia, UK and the US signed an agreement.

The RAN was originally planning to build non nuclear submarines in Australia, with the help of France.

As of August 2021, there are 76 operational commissioned ships.
  • 2 aircraft carriers,
  • 2 amphibious transport docks,
  • 4 ballistic missile submarines (which maintain the nuclear deterrent),
  • 6 nuclear fleet submarines,
  • 6 guided missile destroyers,
  • 12 frigates,
  • 11 mine-countermeasure vessels
  • 26 patrol vessels
  • 11 auxiliary vessels
  • 5 merchant ships under a private finance initiative
  • ? replenishment ships
  • 3 landing vessels


Since December 2016, the US has called for a fleet of at least 355 ships, up from its current battle-force total of fewer than 300. This is the minimum number leaders have said is required to conduct all required global missions. But the daunting cost of building that fleet -- an estimated $26.6 billion per year for 30 years -- and the challenge of ramping up shipyard work to meet demand have kept progress slow.

The 30-year shipbuilding plan released by the US in 2020 has the service reaching a fleet of 355 ships by 2049. It expects to build its active ship total to 305 by the end of 2021. The US is also pursuing a number of unmanned ship platforms, large and small. These will not count toward its 355-ship goal, however.
  • 43 aircraft carriers; 1 under construction of 10 more planned
  • 34 Amphibious ships
  • 69 destroyers; 1 under construction and 20 more planned.
  • 2 frigates on order and 20 more planned
  • 22 littoral combat ships 12 under construction and 3 more planned
  • 11 of 14 mine countermeasures ships; 2 decommissioned, 1 lost to accident
  • 13 patrol ships in active service, 1 transferred to the Philippine Navy)
  • 50 attack submaries
  • 14 ballistic missiles submarines; 4 more planned
  • 4 guided missiles submarines

In a 2012 study called the "Force Structure Assessment", the Navy determined a post-2020 battle-force requirement of 306 ships.

  • 12 fleet ballistic missile submarines
  • 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers
  • 48 nuclear-powered attack submarines
  • 0-4 nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines
  • 88 large, multi-mission, surface combatants
  • 52 small, multi-role, surface combatants
  • 33 amphibious landing ships
  • 29 combat logistics force ships
  • 33 support vessels