Defence review exposes Australia's need for long range missiles amid war threats from China

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Australian Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy and Chief of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Angus Campbell speak to the media at a news conference after the release of the Defence Strategic Review at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia April 24, 2023. AAP/Lukas Coch/via REUTERS

Sydney: In order to offset the growing danger from China, Australia will expedite efforts to purchase longer-range missiles, according to a significant defence review.

It cautions that in the “missile age,” the nation can no longer be protected by its geographical isolation.

For the immediate recommendations, the government will spend about A$19 billion ($12 billion, £10 billion).

According to the 110-page assessment, Australia’s defence has undergone its most extensive makeover since World War Two.

The Defence Strategic Review is released at a time of rising military tension in the area over China’s position on Taiwan, which it has repeatedly threatened to annex through force.

In violation of international law, the Chinese navy has also developed a significant presence in the South China Sea and is claiming a portion of it as its own territory.

Since the end of World War II, China has undertaken the largest and most ambitious military buildup. This build-up is taking place without transparency or assurances of China’s strategic intent to the Indo-Pacific area, the paper claims.

Anthony Albanese, the prime minister, said the review’s proposals will make Australia “more self-reliant, more prepared, and more secure” rather than “waiting for the future to shape us.”

According to Defence Minister Richard Marles, it suggests that Australia’s armed forces shift their emphasis from land-based armour to “longer-range strike capability, with munitions built in Australia.”

According to Marles, “we need to have a defence force that can engage in ‘impactful projection’.”

The minister stated that the army would have “the firepower and mobility it needs into the future” with the acquisition of “precision strike missiles” with ranges exceeding 500km (310 miles).

According to the evaluation, Australia’s northern fortifications should be bolstered, and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) should be granted more operational flexibility from bases in the region.

Australian plans to purchase the land-based High Mobility Artillery Rocket (HIMARS) system, utilised by the Ukrainian Army to halt Russian advance, will also be expedited.

Several projects, including those for new self-propelled weapons and ammunition delivery vehicles, will be cancelled in order to pay for the new objectives.

The evaluation, according to Mr. Marles, also showed how crucial it is to maintain “continuous shipbuilding capability in this country.”

Additionally, the US State Department authorised the $895 million sale of 220 cruise missiles to Australia in March.

Under the terms of the Aukus defence agreement reached by Australia, the UK, and the US, Australia will purchase Virginia-class submarines from the US. These submarines will be equipped with non-nuclear weapons.

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