ScoMo’s show of strength to China: PM launches $270billion beef-up of defence forces with new 370km-range missiles, drones, artillery systems and 800 extra troops as tensions with the communist superpower escalate
- Scott Morrison will announce a major shift in defence policy to the Indo-Pacific
- The government will spend $270billion beefing defence over the next ten years
- The main aim of the beef-up is to deter aggression against Australia and its allies
- More than half of $270bn will be spent on Australia’s air and maritime forces
Charlie Moore – Daily Mail Australia June 30, 2020
The federal government will spend $270billion over the next ten years on beefing up the Australian Defence Force with state-of-the-art equipment including long-range missiles and new artillery systems amid strategic and political tensions with China.
In a speech to ADF cadets in Canberra on Wednesday morning, Scott Morrison will announce a major shift in defence policy to focus on projecting Australian power into the Indo-Pacific.
It comes as the region faces growing instability after a brutal border dispute between India and China in the Himalayan mountains that killed at least 20 soldiers and with ongoing Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
The main aim of the beef-up, which will include hiring 800 extra soldiers, is to deter aggression against Australia and its allies – but the Prime Minister also wants to prepare the defence force for war in case tensions escalate.
Beijing and Canberra have been at loggerheads in recent weeks after Australia led global calls for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19, which first surfaced in Wuhan late last year.
China retaliated by slapping an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, suspending beef imports and telling students and tourists not to travel Down Under in an apparent attempt to damage the Australian economy.
More than half of $270billion will be spent on improving Australia’s air and maritime forces, including buying new AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles from the US.
The missiles, which were designed in America in 2014, cost around $5million each and can hit a target 370km away, giving Australia significant new range.
They will be attached to F/A-18F Super Hornet planes and can also be paired with other defence aircraft. Troops will be trained how to use the weapon next year.
The government is also considering buying a range of other weapons and defence systems including the surface-to-air Missile, the High Mobility Rocket Artillery System and the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System.
In addition, between $5billion and $7billion will be spent on undersea surveillance systems, and up to $17billion will go towards buying more fighter aircraft.
Up to $11billion will be spent on remotely-piloted and autonomous combat aircraft, including air teaming vehicles.
And between $8 and $11.5 billion will buy long range rocket fires and artillery systems including two regiments of self-propelled howitzers.
In May Australia unveiled The Loyal Wingman unmanned drone, its first military aircraft to be built on home soil in 50 years.
The drone will fly alongside fighter jets including Strike Fighters, Super Hornets and Growlers to provide support and intelligence and can hold several systems including a radar, an infrared search and track system and a defensive laser system.
Billions will also be spent on space capabilities and cyber security as Australia faces ongoing attacks on institutions and companies from a ‘state actor’ which intelligence sources believe is China.
The shift in focus on the Indo-Pacific comes as Australia pulls out of the Middle East with the training mission at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq concluded.
Missiles, drones and artillery systems: How will Australia spend $270billion over next ten years?
Maritime ($75 billion)
Expanded maritime force to provide greater capability for anti-submarine warfare, sealift, border security, maritime patrol, aerial warfare, area denial and undersea warfare.
Between $168 and $183 billion for the acquisition or upgrade of Navy and Army maritime vessels out to the 2050s. Between $5 to $7 billion in undersea surveillance systems.
Between $400 to $500 million in long range maritime strike missiles.
Air ($65 billion)
Expanded air combat and mobility and new long range weapons and remotely piloted and autonomous systems will be introduced.
Between $10 and $17 billion investment in fighter aircraft. Between $700 million to $1 billion for Operational Radar Network expansion.
Between $3.4 billion and $5.2 billion to improve air launched strike capability.
Between $6.2 and $9.3 billion in research and development in high speed long range strike, including hypersonic research to inform future investments
Between $7.4 and $11 billion for remotely-piloted and autonomous combat aircraft, including air teaming vehicles.
Land ($55 billion)
Investment to ensure land forces have more combat power, are better connected, protected and integrated with each other and with our partners. Between $7.4 and $11.1 billion on future autonomous vehicles.
Between $7.7 and $11.5 billion for long range rocket fires and artillery systems including two regiments of self-propelled howitzers.
Between $1.4 and $2.1 billion for Army watercraft including up to 12 riverine patrol craft and several amphibious vessels of up to 2,000 tonnes to enhance ADF amphibious lift capacity.
Defence Enterprise ($50 billion)
Investment key infrastructure, ICT, innovation and Science and Technology programs critical to the generation of Defence capabilities.
Between $6.8 and $10.2 billion in undersea warfare facilities and infrastructure.
Between $4.3 and $6.5 billion to enhance Air Force’s operational effectiveness and capacity in the Northern Territory.
Between $900 million and $1.3 billion to upgrade key ports and infrastructure to support Australia’s larger fleet of amphibious vessels.
Between $20.3 and $30 billion to increase the supply of munitions and between $1 and $1.5 billion to explore expanding industry capacity for domestic guided weapons and explosive ordnance production capability.
Information and cyber ($15 billion)
Bolster offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, enhance electronic warfare and command and control systems and improve intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
Space ($7 billion)
Investment to improve resilience and self-reliance of Defence’s space capabilities, including to assure access to capabilities, enable situational awareness and deliver real-time communications and position, navigation and timing.
Between $4.6 and $6.9 billion in upgrades and future satellite communications systems, including communications satellites and ground control stations under sovereign Australian control.
Between $1.3 and $2 billion to build our Space Situational Awareness capabilities.