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Old 10-07-2009, 08:16 PM
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From Millennium’s End:

No nuclear war in this scenario but a similar world environment to Merc 2000. Economic recession, separatist movements and international terrorism has plunged the world into crisis and strained the resources of many of the worlds militaries, but the Australia armed forces seems to be doing well out of it.

The Australian Army
The Australian Army has undergone the largest expansion of the three services. Together with the purchase of US Army surplus after the Gulf War, this has provided a potent combination of modern equipment mated to traditional Australian field craft. There is a Mechanised Infantry Regiment equipped with M1A1 Abrams, M2 Bradley’s, and LAV-25’s. There is an Air Mobile Regiment with the UH-60 Blackhawk as transport, and a Marine Assault Regiment based around the Navy’s HMAS Perth (a former Tawara class amphibious assault ship). Two squadrons of Eurocopter Tiger helicopters provide Anti-armour and Close Air Support. A small air defence unit with a battery of Patriot and several batteries of Rapier are tasked with mainland air defence.

The Australian SAS Regiment consists of three sabres. At any time, one of these is tasked with Counter Terrorism, while the others are used as raiders, or in recon. The CT role is rotated regularly to ensure a broad mix of skills. In the field, Australian troops are armed with the Steyr AUG (the M203 grenade launcher is issued one per fire team), the M249 SAW and a mixture of Milan and the M-72 LAW for anti-tank / anti-bunker work. The SAS use what they want, typically the M-16 or the H&K MP-5. There is no PDW for rear echelon troops, but this is being evaluated, and it is likely that the FN P-90 will be adopted shortly. Training exercises are regularly held in conjunction with the Singaporean army in the jungles of northern Queensland and in the deserts of Western Australia.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
The RAN has done well out of the expansion of the defence forces. The pride and joy of the Navy is HMAS Perth, formerly the USS Peleliu (A Tawara class Amphibious Assault Helicopter Carrier). Used in both the ASW and Amphibious Assault roles, she can carry almost 2000 troops, plus up to 35 helicopters. AV-8B Harrier II’s may be purchased to provide a self defence ability in the near future.

Available to escort HMAS Perth are three almost new former US Navy Arleigh Burke class AEGIS destroyers (HMAS Brisbane, HMAS Hobart and HMAS Freemantle). HMAS Hobart was badly damaged in a suicide boat attack in 1999, but is now back in service. 6 OH Perry class Missile Frigates (FFG) and 8 ANZAC class frigates (FF) round out the surface navy. Eight new Collins class conventional (non-nuclear) submarines make up the submarine fleet. These have been fitted with Tomahawk missile launching capability, and can carry up to 8 Tomahawks each. Silent when operating on batteries, they have also been used in landing special operations troops. The navy also maintains a small anti-mining and ports clearance unit to guard against mines and enemy SCUBA units. This unit regularly trains with the Singaporean navy. Navy air units are currently limited to the S-70 Sea Hawk and the SH-3 Sea King. The Sea Harrier, or AV-8B Harrier II may be purchased in the near future. The RAAF provides P-3 Orions for ASW and SAR work, and a squadron of former RNZAF A-4 Skyhawks for aggressor training. The RAAF’s F/A-18’s can be configured for an anti-surface role with Harpoon and Maverick missiles.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
The RAAF has doubled in size since 1990. There are now four squadrons for F/A- 18’s providing both air defence and ground strike. The two squadrons of F-111’s have been expanded by the purchase of USAF surplus FB-111’s to provide a strategic strike capability. A number of new E2 Hawkeye’s have been purchased to provide AWAC’s along with the Jindalee OTHR long range radar system. Air transport is an area of concern, as although the number of C-130’s has increased, they are limited in load. Where heavy lift is required, Russian or Ukrainian Antonov’s have been leased and this is likely to continue in the future in the absence of either the C-17 or the Airbus 400. A number of converted Boeing 707’s provide air-to-air refuelling expanding the area covered by the RAAF’s strike force.

A number of new bases have been opened in northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia to provide basing for the new squadrons. A squadron of either F-111’s or F/A-18’s rotate to Changi Air Base in Singapore as part of the defence agreement, while Singaporean F-16’s fly training exercises over north Queensland.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)
The ASIO is the Federal Government branch tasked with dealing in internal security and counter espionage. ASIO Headquarters are in Canberra with district offices in each state or territory capital. It is thought that around 600 people work for the ASIO, scattered around locations in Australia. The focus of the ASIO is on espionage, terrorists and violent political groups. It also performs background security checks on personnel working in areas of national interest, and it works closely with the Department of Immigration to weed out undesirable elements.

By law, it is not permitted to operate outside of Australia, but several recent operations appear to have had an overseas connection, much to the annoyance of the ASIS. Contacts with the British Security Service and America’s FBI are good, with a great deal of information exchanged between the organisations. Any actions requiring heavy duty firepower would be backed up by elements of the CT sabre of the SAS. Friction between the ASIO and State Police forces mean that Police SWAT teams are only occasionally used.

The Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO)
The DIGO is a branch of the Ministry of Defence. Its role is to provide intelligence to government agencies from satellite and other imagery sources. To provide this service it has the use of a number of assets include Photo-Recon configured RAAF F-111’s, Falcon business jets, E-2 AWACS and Aus-Sat (a spy satellite launched in 1999 from Guiana). It is run from Bendigo in Victoria, with a headquarters detachment in Canberra. It is suspected that members of DIGO are also present on the ground photographing sensitive overseas sites. Major roles handled by the DIGO include tracking of unknown shipping, unauthorised flights to and from Australian airspace and monitoring of National Security and Defence exclusion zones in the Northern Territories, Western Australia and Queensland.

The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)
The ASIS is Australia’s overseas intelligence collection agency. Its primary function is to obtain and distribute information about the capabilities, intentions and activities of individuals or organisations outside Australia which may impact on Australian interests. The ASIS tasks include reporting on major defence, international relations and national economic issues. The ASIS is not regarded as a police or law enforcement agency. It is prohibited by law from planning for, or undertaking, paramilitary activities involving violence against the person or the use of weapons. Any operations requiring these activities are passed over the Australian Defence Forces. It is thought that in a number of these operations have been co-ordinated or headed by an ASIS staff member. It is certain that a number of ASIS field staff are former Special Forces members.

The ASIS headquarters are in Canberra. All Australian Embassies and Consulates in the Asian region will have at least one staff member working for the ASIS. In areas regarding as high priority such as Indonesia, India and China, that number will be much higher. The Director of the ASIS reports directly to the Prime Minister. It is though that there may be 400 staff based in Australia, and up to 50 based at foreign locations. The ASIS enjoys good relations with the UK SIS and with the CIA. Its relationship with the ASIO is not so good, as several operations by the ASIS have resulted in Australian espionage rings being exposed.

Joint Defence Facilities
These are US intelligence bases within Australia which are jointly owned with the Australia government. Australians provide much of the staffing and resources, and both share in information gleaned. The three known bases are Harold Holt Station near the North West Cape in Western Australia, Pine Gap near Alice Springs and Nurrungar which is within the Woomera defence zone in South Australia. Pine Gap is the only one easily accessible by the public, and attracts regular protests.
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