The Government of Australia is set to invest A$1bn ($770m) to boost naval capabilities and improve its maritime security as part of a larger defence upgrade programme.
The investment will support the development of advanced guided weapons to provide the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with long-range anti-ship missiles, extended range surface-to-air missiles, advanced lightweight torpedoes, and maritime land strike capabilities.
The anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, capable of firing targets at a distance of more than 370km, and maritime land strike missiles, with ranges of around 1,500km, will provide naval forces with greater capabilities to protect maritime resources and borders.
Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said that the investment will be made across current and future submarine and surface combatant fleets.
She said: “These new capabilities will provide a strong, credible deterrent that will ensure stability and security in the region.
“The planned acquisitions, when aligned with the ongoing state-of-the-art combat system development and National shipbuilding programmes, represent an investment of up to A$24bn, which will build a lethal and highly responsive navy for decades to come.
“The project also seeks opportunities to broaden Australia’s weapons manufacturing base, reinforcing this government’s long-term commitment to Australian industry and delivering sovereign industrial capabilities.”
The investment is part of the government’s A$183bn ($140.57bn) Naval Shipbuilding Plan. This plan will involve building up to 23 classes of vessels in Australia.
RAN recently officially accepted the first Supply-class auxiliary oilier replenishment (AOR) vessel, ‘NUSHIP Supply’.