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19 incredible photos the Royal Australian Navy took in the past year

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

The biggest news in the past 12 months for the Australian Royal Navy was all about what lies ahead.

The federal government announced it would significantly beef up the fleet, and there’s three contenders in the running to build the RAN a new $40 billion submarine fleet.

That program got a major boost this year, taking the lion’s share of a $30 billion budget boost from the Turnbull government today.

Defence minister Marise Payne said it is “the most ambitious plan to regenerate the Royal Australian Navy since the Second World War”.

Meanwhile, the RAN farewelled two long-serving vessels in the HMAS Tobruk and the HMAS Sydney.

The tension in the South China Sea continued to simmer on a slow boil. The RAN said it would go ahead with joint naval drills with China, while supporting US naval patrols which Beijing described as “dangerous and provocative”.

There was some controversy over the RAN’s involvement in turning asylum-seekers back.

And in the Middle East as part of the multinational Combined Maritime Forces, RAN’s ships have raked in several billion dollars worth of illicit drugs.

Quite a lot of it was captured in some spectacular images, all available at the RAN’s site here. We’ve gathered the best of them.

A Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diver emerges from the waters of Pittwater at Palm Beach in Sydney.

Facebook/© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Anzac-class frigates HMAS Ballarat, HMAS Stuart and HMAS Anzac transit through Cockburn Sound in Western Australia on the way to Fleet Base West.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

HMAS Stuart firing 5' Ballistic Round in company with HMAS Anzac enroute to Perth WA.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

HMAS Melbourne's boarding party prepares to conduct an approach and assist boarding in the Indian operation as part of OP MANITOU.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

HMAS Perth is readied for its move out of the floating dock onto the hard stand in preparation for Intermediate Maintenance Availability (IMAV) 06 docking at the Australian Marine Complex Common User Facility at Henderson in Western Australia.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Members of the Ship's Company in HMAS Melbourne inspect 151kg of heroin discovered in a fishing dhow off the east African coast.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

HMAS Canberra's ship's company watch a movie on the flight deck while at anchor in Jervis Bay during Fleet Concentration Period 2015.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour arrives into Fremantle on the completion of her circumnavigation of the world.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Leading Seaman Clearance Diver Andrew Simpson gets some airtime during the shortboard final of the West Australian Navy Surfing Championships held at the Sewer Break, Margaret River, Western Australia.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

HMAS Canberra conducts a 25mm gun shoot on completion of Fleet Concentration Period East 2015.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Dolphins play alongside HMAS Darwin as they conducted a replenishment at sea.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

HMAS Darwin's embarked S-70-B crew conduct an aerial display for the friends and families of ships company during a families day tour onboard HMAS Darwin while they sailed off the coast of New South Wales.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

HMAS Sirius conducts a dual Replenishment at Sea with HMA Ships Arunta and Stuart as they sail home to Australia across the Java Sea, after completing a North East Asia Deployment.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Seaman Boatswains Mate Jessica Muir live-fires a MAG 58 machinegun aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East Region as part of Operation Manitou.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Ships and aircraft sail in formation during the Japanese Fleet Review in the waters off the coast of Japan.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Expelled rounds hit HMAS Canberra’s flight deck from Australian Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment Light Armoured Vehicles during a live fire component of Exercise Sea Raider.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Members of HMAS Canberra's Aviation Department conduct a walk down of the flight deck to check for foreign objects before flying during Sea Series 2015.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

HMAS Canberra conducts a 25mm gun shoot at night off the northern Queensland coast.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Four items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) are detonated underwater in the vicinity of Quail and Bare Sand Islands, approximately 65 kilometres south west of Darwin.

© Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

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