At any one time, up to 600 ADF personnel may be working alongside counterparts in the Australian Border Force staff and the Federal Police to protect Australia’s maritime borders from a range of threats. In this photo essay, Defence Connect looks at the men and women who make up Operation Resolute, as well as branch contributions and deployed vehicles.
Operation Resolute is Defence's contribution to the whole-of-government effort to protect Australia's maritime borders – which, in turn, is known as Operation Sovereign Borders.
While both are often framed purely in terms of maritime arrivals, Defence's contribution runs the gamut from the prevention of maritime terrorism and piracy, through to that of illegal fishing and marine pollution.
The combined operational area covers approximately 10 per cent of the world's surface, including areas up to 200 nautical miles around the mainland, as well as overseas territories. Christmas, Cocos, Keeling, Norfolk, Heard, Macquarie and Lord Howe Islands all fall within operational boundaries – no easy task, from a logistics standpoint.
The operation is headed up by the RAN's Rear Admiral Peter Laver, who co-ordinates both Defence and Australian Border Force assets from his headquarters in Canberra.
All three branches make significant respective contributions to Resolute, covering:
- The RAAF's AP-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft provide aerial surveillance of Australia's north-west and northern approaches;
- Navy's Armidale Class patrol boats (ACPBs) and Cape Class patrol boats (CCPBs) operate daily throughout Australia's maritime areas;
- Australian Army Regional Force Surveillance Unit (RFSU) patrols, which conduct land-based security operations;
- A Transit Security Element (TSE) made up of Navy and Army personnel who embark in the ACPBs; and
- One large hull vessel (LHV) for northern waters response.
ADF units transiting the area of operations, while not assigned to Operation Resolute, also contribute to the overall surveillance and security effort.