Operational and technological developments in maritime warfare: implications for the Western Pacific

Author/s (editor/s):

Ross Babbage, Greg Donaldson, Graeme Dunk, Alan Hinge, Bob Ormston, Dick Sherwood, Gary Waters, Stan Weeks

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 105

There is a growing emphasis on maritime capabilities in the development of military forces in the Western Pacific region, particularly in Northeast and Southeast Asia. This reflects both the relative economic prosperity of the region and a growing concern over maritime security issues. Regional countries are seeking to take advantage of the technological developments which have occurred in recent decades in the field of maritime warfare; some are taking steps towards defining their force structures in terms of what can be built locally and what benefits can be gained for their economic development as a whole from transfers of technology. 

For all regional navies new issues have arisen. There is the thorny question of balancing resources as well as the risk of opting for too high a military capability and being left with the wrong weapon in the wrong fight. Much of the new equipment entering regional force structures is based on state-of-the-art technology and it is necessary to develop the ability both to operate and to maintain it. New problems are faced: of training and management, of shore-side support, and of testing and evaluation. Technologies which lead to force structuring to suit the unique environment of the region also lead to increased rigour in defining missions, tasks and requirements, and ultimately to the refinement of doctrine and tactics. 

This monograph is based on papers delivered at a seminar jointly hosted by the Royal Australian Navy's Maritime Studies Program and the Australian Naval Institute at HMAS Watson. It explores recent operational and technological developments In all aspects of maritime warfare - air, surface and sub-surface - and touches on many of the issues facing force planners in respect to the future of maritime security.

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