Royal Australian Navy: Timor-Leste
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has provided a range of logistic and operation support for the Australian and New Zealand International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in Timor-Leste.
The redeployment of ADF forces to Timor-Leste in May 2006 included the guided-missile frigate HMAS Adelaide, the replenishment vessel HMAS Success and the amphibious landing/hospital ship HMAS Kanimbla. Landing ships HMAS Tobruk and HMAS Manoora were also sent to East Timor with follow-on forces.
Defence Annual Report 2007-08, Volume 1, Department of Defence, p6
“Regionally, the ADF continued to contribute to the support of the governments of East Timor (Operation Astute) and Solomon Islands (Operation Anode)…On 11 February 2008, East Timorese President Horta was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt. The ADF deployed HMAS Perth and a response force of around 200 ADF personnel plus Australian Federal Police personnel by Air Force C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules aircraft to provide additional support to Timorese and international efforts to stabilise the country.”
Troubled Waters – Ships to help restore order in East Timor, Navy News, Volume 49, No. 9, 1 June 2006.
“In response to a request from the East Timorese Government, the Royal Australian Navy has deployed the largest amphibious task force in its history and the first deployment of the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) HMA Ships Manoora, Kanimbla, Tobruk, Success, Tarakan, Balikpapan and Adelaide are joined by RAAF Hercules aircraft and more than 1300 Australian Army personnel as they deploy on Operation Astute, the mission to assist in the restoration of law and order in Dili. Navy embarked forces in Darwin and Townsville and will disembark them on arrival in East Timor. The ARG will also provide critical functions such as provision of afloat medical facilities, command and control and helicopter support capabilities.”
Lifeline – Navy’s vital role in Op Astute, Navy News, Volume 49, No. 10, 15 June 2006.
“The deployment of the Navy’s Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) to East Timor on Operation Astute was the largest deployment of RAN’s amphibious forces since World War II.”
The RAN in Timor-Leste, Defence Magazine, July 2006
“It is food for thought that the land forces were not simply assisted by naval elements during Astute, but at a fundamental level relied on the many and varied capabilities brought by one of the largest Royal Australian Navy (RAN) task groups operationally deployed since World War II. Involving five major and three minor fleet units, Astute’s initial force allocation was only slightly less than the number of warships assigned to the 1999 INTERFET (International Force East Timor) deployment, Operation Stabilise.”
Operation Astute – the RAN in East Timor, Semaphore, Issue 12, June 2006
“…the land forces were not simply assisted by naval elements during ASTUTE, but at a fundamental level relied upon the many and varied capabilities brought by one of the largest RAN task groups operationally deployed since World War II. Involving five major and three minor fleet units, ASTUTE’s initial force allocation was only slightly less than the number of warships assigned to the 1999 INTERFET (International Force East Timor) deployment, Operation STABILISE.
“ASTUTE witnessed the first operational deployment of the ADF’s Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), comprising the amphibious transports HMA Ships Kanimbla and Manoora, and heavy landing ship HMAS Tobruk.
“Manoora, for example, carried four Black Hawks in addition to a Sea King, and these conducted an air assault on 28 May. She also had on board a Deployable Geo-spatial Support Team which surveyed the landing sites prior to the amphibious assault conducted by hard-worked RAN heavy landing craft (HMA Ships Balikpapan, Tarakan, Labuan and later Wewak) and Army LCM8s.”
Commentary and analysis
Interview with Brigadier Mick Slater, Commander JTF 631, Australian Army Journal, Volume 3 Number 2 2006, pp9-14.
“In purely military terms, as everyone knows, Army is very dependent on the RAN [Royal Australian Navy] and RAAF [Royal Australian Air Force]. We need them to get to the theatre, to sustain ourselves there, and to get ourselves home. I want to pay tribute to our sister services for their effort during Operation Astute. They have provided terrific support….And I speak for every soldier in the JTF when I pay tribute to the RAN component, especially the crew of HMAS Kanimbla. In the first couple of weeks they provided an indispensable support to us. Not only did they assist with fresh meals and hotel services for the troops, but they hooked-in and provided security elements for foot patrols at the SPOD [Sea Point of Disembarkation]. The troops really appreciated them. Again, having a major fleet unit alongside creates a significant effect in its own right. It is a very potent symbol of national resolve.”