UK relationship in safe hands

Twenty-four years after serving in the United Kingdom on an exchange program with the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force, Captain Adrian Capner has returned as Australia’s Naval Adviser.

CAPTION: The new Australian Naval Adviser to London Captain Adrian Capner, right, with the previous adviser Captain Paul Mandziy at BAE Systems global combat ship facility in Glasgow, Scotland. Story by Lieutenant Commander J A Thompson.

Captain Capner is now the third aviator in a row to take on the role, which is based at the High Commission in London.

“It feels good to be back – a lot has happened in the years in between,” Captain Capner said.

Captain Capner grew up in Sutherland Shire in Sydney’s south, and joined the Navy as a midshipman in 1989 through the Australian Defence Force Academy.

He initially served as a bridge watch-keeper before transferring to aviation. He spent two eventful years in the UK flying the Sea King Mk4, before being posted to 845 Squadron.

“The two years I spent here, from 1998 to 2000, were a highlight – not least because our son was born here. From a professional standpoint, the experience helped forge my career,” Captain Capner said.

He was deployed on a range of ships including HM Ships Ocean and Fearless, RFA Fort Austin and HNLMS Rotterdam. He also completed two tours in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the NATO-led Stablisation Force.

His career highlight was his appointment as Commanding Officer of 808 Squadron in Nowra, NSW.

He also served as Commander – Air on Australia’s flagship HMAS Canberra and was recognised in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list “for outstanding achievement in organisational reform and aviation capability acquisition” as Director of the Navy Aviation Acquisition Project Office.

“This is my first diplomatic posting and I’m excited with the opportunities ahead to be able to strengthen the positive relationship between Australia and the UK at such an important time in history,” Captain Capner said.

“Interestingly, there have been some significant changes since I was here 24 years ago.

“The biggest is the way in which Australia is viewed. We are taken much more seriously and are more of an equal partner than we were in the 1990s.”

The Head of Australian Defence Staff – London Brigadier Grant Mason has welcomed Captain Capner.

“Adrian brings great experience and capability to the role. Australia’s naval relationship with one of our most important allies is in safe hands,” Brigadier Mason said.


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