• HMAS Stuart passes HMAS Hobart as she prepares to come alongside her homeport of Fleet Base East in Sydney. (Credit: Defence)
    HMAS Stuart passes HMAS Hobart as she prepares to come alongside her homeport of Fleet Base East in Sydney. (Credit: Defence)
  • HMAS Arunta comes alongside Fleet Base West 
after completing a five month deployment. (Credit: Defence)
    HMAS Arunta comes alongside Fleet Base West after completing a five month deployment. (Credit: Defence)
  • HMAS Ballarat conducts a calibration firing of its five-inch gun port side. (Credit: Defence)
    HMAS Ballarat conducts a calibration firing of its five-inch gun port side. (Credit: Defence)
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A demanding year for the naval domain has seen the conclusion of a three-decade RAN presence in the Middle East and planning underway for an increased focus, as set out in July’s Defence Strategic Update, on the Indo-Pacific and Australia’s immediate region.

While Australia remained prepared to make military contributions elsewhere, Prime Minister Scott Morrison disclosed that Defence had been directed to prioritise the ADF’s geographic focus on the area ranging from the northeast Indian Ocean, through maritime and mainland Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and the Southwest Pacific.

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