Home Australia The great re-arming: Australia to double the size of its Navy fleet to counter rising threat from China

The great re-arming: Australia to double the size of its Navy fleet to counter rising threat from China

by Elijah
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An additional $11.1 billion will be injected into Australia's combat fleet over the next decade, covering the acquisition of 11 new utility frigates.

The Navy’s surface fleet will more than double in size, with Australia buying more smaller warships and increasing the strike capabilities of larger ones by spending $54 billion.

An additional $11.1 billion will be injected into Australia’s combat fleet over the next decade, covering the acquisition of 11 new utility frigates.

There will also be six ships with optional crew.

The troubled Hunter-class frigate program will be reduced from nine ships to six to make way for utility vessels.

The first Hunter will arrive in 2032 as planned, but the arrival of utility ships in this decade will be accelerated.

The first three utility frigates will be built overseas to get them in the water quicker before the rest are built in Perth.

ANZAC-class frigates and Hobart-class destroyers will also receive a facelift with new anti-ship and long-range missiles as the Australian Defense Force looks to project deeper into the Pacific.

This includes replacing harpoon anti-ship missiles with naval strike missiles and installing long-range battle axes.

An additional $11.1 billion will be injected into Australia’s combat fleet over the next decade, covering the acquisition of 11 new utility frigates.

But the government will not take steps to extend the life of the ANZACs, saying the new utility frigates would be more lethal and cost-effective given the navy can only man fewer than six of the eight ships.

The first of the aging class, HMAS ANZAC, will be retired and will not return to sea. The second will be mothballed in 2026, reducing the navy’s total fleet in the near term to the early 2030s.

The larger warships will have a gunship helicopter and underwater warfare capabilities with sonar and light torpedoes.

The reform will increase the combat fleet from 11 to 26 by the mid-2040s, along with another 25 “minor warships.”

The latter include 14 for the navy, including six Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels, and another 11 for the Australian Border Force.

The restructuring will support 3,700 jobs in South Australia and Western Australia. It includes the continuation of 2,000 jobs in South Africa and 500 new ones, as well as 1,200 new jobs in WA.

The troubled Hunter-class frigate program will be reduced from nine ships to six to make way for utility vessels (pictured, aerial view of HMAS Perth)

The troubled Hunter-class frigate program will be reduced from nine ships to six to make way for utility vessels (pictured, aerial view of HMAS Perth)

A major review of the navy’s surface fleet made 18 recommendations and implored the government to act quickly.

“Any delay will exacerbate the risk (and) lead to a level of imbalance,” the review said.

A continuous production line of ships will also be launched to ensure that there are no gaps in the future.

The changes would make the Navy the most lethal it has ever been, Defense Minister Richard Marles said as he unveiled the reform on Tuesday.

“Australia’s modern society and economy depends on access to the high seas – trade routes for our imports and exports and undersea cables for data,” he said.

Marles also chastised the previous coalition government for a more than $25 billion budget black hole through unfunded projects.

Cash spending will raise defense spending to 2.4 percent of GDP by the early 2030s.

An improved shipbuilding and ship maintenance plan will be published later this year.

The changes would make the Navy the most lethal it has ever been, Defense Minister Richard Marles said as he unveiled the reform on Tuesday.

The changes would make the Navy the most lethal it has ever been, Defense Minister Richard Marles said as he unveiled the reform on Tuesday.

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