Royal Australian Navy welcomes new chief

The Royal Australian Navy has welcomed the new Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, AM, RAN, during a ceremony in Canberra.

Outgoing Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, said it had been an honor to lead the navy through an extraordinary four years.  

Photo: RAN

“I sincerely thank the men and women of our Navy for their hard work and dedication during my term, and particularly during the past two and a half years.”

“Our people have shown exceptional resilience, strength and adaptability in challenging times. They have provided unprecedented support for the Australian community during COVID-19, the 2019-20 bushfires and recent floods, while also maintaining the navy’s consistent presence in the South West Pacific and wider Indo-Pacific region.”

Noonan added that the navy is undergoing its biggest evolution since the Second World War in order to respond to a dynamic strategic environment.

“At this important time, I am confident I leave Navy in great hands. Vice Admiral Hammond is an exceptional leader and I congratulate him on taking command of the Royal Australian Navy today,” he said.

Vice Admiral Hammond said he was honoured to assume command of the navy.

“I want to thank Vice Admiral Noonan for his 38 years of distinguished service and his four years as our Chief of Navy during which Navy’s workforce grew to more than 15,000 people.

His term was one of significant change. Navy commissioned two Hobart Class destroyers, HMA Ships Brisbane and Sydney, and two new Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships, HMA Ships Stalwart and Supply, while Defence launched NUSHIP Arafura, the first of 12 Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels, and took ownership of its first evolved Cape Class Patrol Boat.”

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Australian Government approved navy’s future workforce growth to more than 20,000 people by 2040 and announced that at least eight nuclear-powered submarines would be acquired for the Royal Australian Navy through the AUKUS trilateral agreement between Australia, the UK, and US.

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“I commit to building upon Vice Admiral Noonan’s work to evolve Navy’s Fleet and grow our Service. It’s an important time to be part of the Navy, and we will continue to work closely with industry and our international partners to maintain maritime security and a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Hammond emphasized.

Vice Admiral Hammond served as Commander Australian Fleet from 2020 and as Deputy Chief of Navy from 2018 to 2020.

He joined the navy in 1986 to become an electronics technician and was commissioned as an officer in 1988.

Vice Admiral Hammond has had an extensive career as a submariner and served as Commanding Officer of HMAS Farncomb.  He has had sea experience in French, British and US nuclear attack submarines, Australian and Dutch conventional submarines, and multiple surface vessels.

Vice Admiral Hammond is the first graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy to become Chief of Navy.

Photo: RAN