The Australian Army will undergo a massive reorganisation in the next eight years which will see additional combat brigades raised, a dedicated rocket artillery and missile brigade raised, an existing brigade refocused to digital warfare and the Army Reserve structure completely reconfigured with units equipped with next generation weapons and situational awareness capabilities.

The new expanded 21st Century Order of Battle is revealed in the Land Operational Concept Document which outlines Army’s plans for a 2028 Army Objective Force. Initial analysis reveals an augmented force that retains the vast bulk of existing combat manoeuvre elements, but with a new Joint Fires Brigade to control in the incoming NASAMS 2 Ground Based Air Defence entering service next year (Project Land 19 Phase 7B), the Long Range Fires Rocket Artillery and Long Range Missile capabilities to be acquired under Project Land 8113 and the Land Based (Anti Ship/Strike) Missile System to be acquired under Project Sea 4100. The three existing Combat Brigades will expand to four, with major rerolling of entire Brigades and the raising of a (fifth) high readiness Total Work Force (integrated Reserve) combat brigade with substantial combat power in Western Australia to finally redress the ground combat imbalance in the western third of the nation.

Major changes include the splitting of the Palmerston NT/Edinburgh SA based 1st Brigade into two separate Brigades with substantial rerolling of individual units. Under the proposed 2028 Army Objective Force, 1st Brigade will remain in Darwin and re role as an amphibious/littoral/light combat manoeuvre element with the existing 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR), 8th/12th Regiment Royal Australian Artillery (8/12RAA), 1st Combat Engineer Regiment (1CER), 1st Combat Signals Regiment (1CSR) and 1st Combat Service Support Battalion (CSSB), but be augmented with a re-raised 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment Amphibious (4RAR) in Pre Landing Force configuration. The Army’s 10th Force Support Battalion will re equip with new Littoral Manoeuvre – Light vessels to replace the inservice LCM8 and eventually field the Littoral Manoeuvre – Heavy amphibious platforms which will be concentrated at Larakeyah Barracks in Darwin with a detachment operating from the unit’s existing Ross Island Barracks in Townsville.

1st Brigade’s Edinburgh Defence Precinct based 7th Battalion Mechanised Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR(Mech)) and 1st Armoured Cavalry Regiment (1AR – Armoured Cavalry Regiment) will form the foundation of a fourth combat brigade designated the 9th Brigade, reroled as a heavy armoured combat manoeuvre element. Augmenting 7RAR and 1AR at 9th Brigade will be 9th Regiment Royal Australian Artillery (RAA), the former warehouse for the Army Reserve’s 81mm mortar equipped Light Battery units which will become regular and re equip with the next generation 155/52L AS9 Self Propelled Howitzer and its supporting AS10 Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicle and 9th Field Squadron Royal Australian Engineers who will be equipped with the next generation Heavy Armoured Capability Systems (assault support).

The current Army Reserve 9th Combat Service Support Battalion (9CSSB) logistics unit and 144th Signals Squadron will be augmented with significant full time personnel to support the 9 Brigade Operations. Both the Laverack Barracks Townsville based 3rd Brigade and the Gallipoli Barracks Brisbane based 7th Brigade will retain their current order of battle, but re equip with new weapons, situational awareness and sensor systems as they enter service.

The Western Australia based 13th Brigade will be transformed almost completely with a single infantry unit, a Royal Australian Engineers Construction Squadron, an ISR element equipped with Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light and a 155mm Artillery Battery equipped with M-777A2 Lightweight Towed Artillery and support units. Other major changes in the proposed 2028 Army Objective Force are the complete reorganisation of the existing regular 6th Combat Support Brigade which will be rerolled as a digital warfare brigade focused on Information Warfare, Signals Intelligence, multi spectrum Intelligence and an entire Regiment of the cryptically designated ‘9358’. The 6th Combat Support Regiment will see its existing 16 Air Land Regiment (Ground Based Air Defence) transfer to the redesignated 8th (Joint Fires) Brigade and the 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment Royal Australian Artillery (RAA) will be transferred to the 16th Aviation Brigade.

The Tasmania based 12th/40th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment will be rerolled as a Regional Force Surveillance Unit specialising in lower latitude operations. Special Operations Command will group its units within a new configuration designated Special Operations Brigade with the same structure (minus 2 Squadron Special Air Service Regiment) with an additional Army Reserve Commando Company being raised in South East Queensland within the 1st Commando Regiment structure. The 2nd Battalion (Amphibious) Royal Australian Regiment will retain its current role as a Pre Landing Force, but may be returned to 3rd Brigade for administration purposes. More to follow as we get a clearer picture of the proposals under the 2028 Army Objective Force.

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One comment

  • Tony Badrick November 6, 2021   Reply →

    Is there any update to this interesting response to the changing environment. Having two PLF units would provide additional support and a move towards a marine force, appropriate to the need for a littoral manoeuvre group. Is the WA infantry battalion a re-raised 8 or 9 RAR? There is still no recognition of the need for a non-SF parachute capability.

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