Australia must deploy military forces at foreign bases in the Pacific to defend against advanced Chinese weapons, according to a defense tank report.
Too much emphasis on defending the sea and the sky & # 39; gap & # 39; to the north of Australia the country had been exposed to attacks from Chinese rockets that could hit deep into the continent.
A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) called for a new defense strategy that would place military assets in Japan, Papua New Guinea and Guam in the Western Pacific.
The report looks at how Australia can be better prepared for a major war that could occur in the next decade.
Chinese sailors search for targets aboard a destroyer in the South China Sea. Too much emphasis on defending the sea and the sky & # 39; gap & # 39; to the north of Australia, the country has been exposed to attacks from Chinese rockets that can hit deep into the continent
A Chinese warship sails past the Sydney Opera House earlier this month. Australia must deploy ships and planes in Asia if it wants to defend itself against advanced Chinese weapons
A new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute recommends Australian basic aircraft in Japan, Guam and Papua New Guinea. Shown is a formation of F-35, F / A-18 and other hunters
& # 39; An important challenge for Australian strategic planners who must immediately inform future defense policy is the emergence of an assertive Chinese state that directly challenges US strategic primacy in Asia & # 39 ;, says the author of the report, Malcolm Davis.
& # 39; President Xi Jinping is determined to establish the dominance of the Chinese state in the Indo-Pacific, partly to replace the established US-led, rule-based order. & # 39;
The emergence of an increasingly powerful People's Liberation Army (PLA) expanded China's ability to threaten its neighbors and reduce US military and technological advantage in Asia.
Concerns about China's growing presence in the region were raised when three PLA warships with 700 sailors were on board for four days in an unannounced visit to Sydney Harbor earlier this month.
Australia's current defense strategy, formulated in the 1980s, focuses on securing the sea air gap between the northern and northwestern coasts of Australia and maritime Southeast Asia.
& # 39; This strategy was good in the Cold War period and in the period immediately after the Cold War of the 1990s, when there was little or no direct threat to Australia's territory from a significant power & # 39 ;, according to the report.
& # 39; That situation changed in 2019. Far from a strategic impetus, Australia is now very much a front-line state, geographically, strategically and politically. & # 39;
The rapid development of Chinese military capabilities would allow its capacity for long-range attacks to reach the vital Australian air base, particularly in the north.
A Chinese frigate launches an air defense missile in the South China Sea. The emergence of an increasingly strong People & # 39; s Liberation Army (PLA) expands China's ability to threaten its neighbors and reduce US military and technological advantage in the Asia region
An F / A-18 hunter assesses himself for an exercise at RAAF Tindal in the Northern Territory. Chinese missile systems deployed in the South China Sea can strike at RAAF Tindal and RAAF Darwin and base at Scherger in Queensland and Learmonth and Curtin in Western Australia.
& # 39; The geographical barriers and the & # 39; tyranny of distance & # 39; are being eroded with the start of technological innovation in new military domains, such as space, cyberspace and over the electromagnetic spectrum, & # 39; sets the report.
& # 39; A way of thinking that we can defend the sea air gap is becoming less and less credible. & # 39;
US-Australian joint facilities at Pine Gap near Alice Springs and North West Cape in Western Australia, as well as US forces deployed in North Australia, may be directly threatened in a military conflict with China.
Dr. Malcolm Davis is a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute
& # 39; A direct military attack against Australia would no longer be necessary after a 10-year warning period, & # 39 ;, the report states.
& # 39; With active flame points in Asia, including Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea and the East China Sea … we cannot assume that such a war is an unforeseen event with an & # 39; low probability / high impact & # 39;. & # 39;
The current defense strategy was & # 39; reactive & # 39 ;, waiting for an opponent to approach the coasts of Australia, instead of dealing with threats remotely.
Instead of continuing with that policy, the Australian Defense Force (ADF) should develop a strategy that & # 39; forward defense in depth & # 39; is.
& # 39; The aim is to ensure that the ADF can quickly project power deep into the maritime Indo-Pacific region to deny a potential opponent the initiative from the outset and prevent them from long-range, high speed causing military effects. & # 39;
With new types of weapons and warfare, the sea-air gap will not give Australia the same natural defensive advantage as in the mid-1980s.
Then, according to the report, China was & # 39; an introvert, inward-looking and backward power & # 39; and China still focused on the Soviet threat in the north.
Chinese military personnel are depicted on a ship at the Garden Island naval base in Sydney in June
The Chinese navy was & # 39; at best a brown-water coastal defense fleet & # 39; and its air force & # 39; consisted largely of decrepit MiG & # 39; s to support ground forces & # 39 ;.
& # 39; In contrast, in 2019 a forward Chinese military presence, extending from military bases in the South China Sea through the archipelago to our north and possibly in the South Pacific between Australia and the US, would be our strategic calculus change fundamentally. & # 39;
Threats could be presented by combat groups from the Chinese naval career, submarines, and long-distance powered air forces.
More advanced conventional ballistic missile systems and nuclear weapons also increased steadily in range and accuracy.
Chinese missile systems could strike RAAF Tindal and RAAF Darwin in the Northern Territory and bases at Scherger in Queensland and Learmonth and Curtin in Western Australia, if deployed in the South China Sea.
The Chinese H-6N bomber can transport a ballistic missile of 3,000 kilometers and the state is working on a more capable and insidious H-20 bomber.
Joint US-Australian facilities in Pine Gap (photo) and North West Cape, as well as US forces deployed in northern Australia, can be threatened in any conflict with China
& # 39; If such a combination were deployed in the South China Sea, this could be a combination of ADF bases almost as far south as RAAF Edinburgh, near Adelaide, & # 39; according to the report.
The growth of long-distance cruise and ballistic missile capabilities and the emergence of hypersonic weapons created threats that simply bypassed the strategic north canal & # 39 ;.
& # 39; The strategic direction of our military activities must lie deep in maritime Southeast Asia, with an operational focus on the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea between the first and second island chains and the South Pacific, & # 39; sets the report.
Every new strategy requires a regional effort with a diplomatic dimension in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
That would mean further cooperation and more regular exercises and operations with Indonesian forces and formalize defense agreements with Japan.
& # 39; An important step at the diplomatic level is the development of a formal alliance relationship with Japan that complements and improves the alliance structures of both states with the US. & # 39;
A Chinese frigate launches a rocket during an exercise in the South China Sea. The growth of long-distance cruises and ballistic missile capabilities and the emergence of hypersonic weapons posed threats that simply bypassed the strategic north canal, & # 39 ;, a new report states.
& # 39; Building a formal & # 39; trilateral defense alliance & # 39; between Washington, Tokyo and Canberra would be a step towards Japan that an & # 39; becomes sixth eye & # 39; in the Five Eyes group. (The Australia, the US, the UK, New Zealand and Canada). & # 39;
If air forces are deployed to leave bases outside of Australia, access agreements are needed with partners, including Japan and land and sea-based ballistic missile defense systems (BMD) to protect them.
& # 39; Building an integrated BMD chain from Tindal-Guam-Okinawa would be an essential step to defend these bases, along with investments in longer-range air defense systems that are effective against fast cruise missile capabilities & # 39 ;, said report.
& # 39; In a race for the fast in the future war, the party that hits the fastest and can absorb and reconstruct the battle losses wins. & # 39;
ASPI is an independent, impartial think tank that advises Australian defense leaders and has a recognized voice in the international debate on strategic issues, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
A Chinese frigate, one of the three warships that are visiting, will depart from Sydney on 7 June
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