Australia makes major move on missiles — RT World News

Major military upgrade comes amid war in Ukraine and concerns about China’s growing influence in the South Pacific

Australia has begun a program to modernize air and sea power with new missiles, with an investment of $2.6 billion. The rearmament push comes amid anxiety over the situation in Ukraine and concerns about China’s growing influence in the South Pacific.

“When you see what’s happening in Ukraine, when you see the potential for conflict in the Indo-Pacific, this is very real for us now and we need to be realistic. [to] prevent any aggression and help keep the peace in our region,” Defense Secretary Peter Dutton told reporters on Tuesday.

Part of that will be spent equipping Australia’s fleet of FA-18F Super Hornet fighters with JASSM-ER missiles. Made in the US by arms industry giant Lockheed Martin, the long-range missile will allow fighter jets to strike enemy targets at a range of 900 kilometers (560 miles). Australia has intended to upgrade its air power with improved surface-to-air missiles, but a revised timetable now sets 2024 as the target year. This is three years ahead of the previous schedule.

It also aims to complete its naval upgrade by 2024, arming ANZAC-class frigates and Hobart-class destroyers with NSMs (Naval Strike Missiles). These are manufactured in Norway by Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace and promise to more than double the range of Australia’s warships. Canberra had previously allowed another five years to complete the upgrade, which is expected to be completed in 2029.

The revised timetable comes after a new security treaty between China and the Solomon Islands, which has raised speculation about the possibility that a new Chinese naval base will soon appear in China’s backyard. Australia. Speaking to reporters on Monday, US Pacific Fleet Commander Samuel Paparo called the treaty “very interested” despite the fact that both countries deny plans for any such naval base.

It also comes against the backdrop of deepening cooperation with AUKUS, a tripartite military alliance in which it cooperates with the US and UK on weapons development. AUKUS announced plans to work together on hypersonic weapons this week, a move Beijing has denounced as a “Cold War Psychology” Of a “The Anglo-Saxon group.Russia and China have both successfully tested hypersonic missiles, a weapon for which no effective defenses currently exist. In an interview on Tuesday with Sky News, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce considered China’s hypersonic weapons development a “The threat exists.” He justified Australia’s weapons upgrade and deepening ties with AUKUS as a means of retaining Australians. “Right on top of our game.”

Back in July, China successfully tested a hypersonic missile capable of flying 40,000 km (24,855 miles) in just over 100 minutes, a feat that made US Admiral Charles Richard, the head of the Command US Strategy, this missile rating is “The largest distance and longest flight time of any country’s land-attack weapon systems to date.”

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