On a new bearing: the reorganized Royal Australian Navy at war in Vietnam

Steven Paget

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The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) made a modest but important commitment of a single destroyer to the Vietnam War on a rotational basis between March 1967 and September 1971. The contrast between the deployments of the American-designed and built Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyers and the British-designed Daring class destroyer, HMAS Vendetta, represented the fruition of a small navy being pulled in two different directions. The RAN was undergoing a transitional period, which saw the service increasingly align with the United States Navy. This was a monumental shift in policy, as the Royal Navy had provided a model for the RAN to emulate since its creation in 1911. The Vietnam War offered a clear test of standardization and demonstrated that common ship designs provided a platform for interoperability, but did not guarantee it. The Australian ships were able to make a worthwhile contribution to a predominantly American naval effort, but they faced a number of challenges in achieving interoperability. The basis for successful co-operation was provided by the existence of common procedures and standardized equipment, but was necessarily supplemented by ad hoc measures and impromptu workarounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-303
Number of pages21
JournalThe Mariner’s Mirror
Issue number3
Early online date3 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


  • Royal Australian Navy
  • United States Navy
  • Vitenam War
  • coalition warfare
  • naval warfare
  • standardization
  • interoperability
  • Charles F. Adams class destroyer
  • County class destroyer


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