Building the arsenal.
Australia will spend more than $3.5 billion to purchase 120 tanks and other armoured vehicles from the United States, it has been announced.
The upgrade could see the Australian Army gain up to 75 Abrams tanks, 29 assault breacher vehicles, 17 joint assault bridge vehicles, and six armoured recovery vehicles.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton says the tanks, teamed up with other vehicles purchased in recent years, would provide the ADF with critical firepower for land operations.
“Teamed with the infantry fighting vehicle, combat engineering vehicles, and self-propelled howitzers, the new Abrams will give our soldiers the best possibility of success and protection from harm,’” Dutton said.
“The M1A2 Abrams will incorporate the latest developments in Australian sovereign defence capabilities, including command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems, and benefit from the intended manufacture of tank ammunition in Australia.”
“The introduction of the new M1A2 vehicles will take advantage of the existing support infrastructure, with significant investment in Australian industry continuing in the areas of sustainment, simulation and training.”
The vehicles will are set to arrive in 2024 with the defence minister to confirming the new purchases, according to recent reports.
The new additions reveal the government’s interest in building a solid fleet of armoured vehicles in contrast to recent purchases of submarines and jet fighters.
The M1A2 Abrams will replace the army’s 59 Abrams M1A1s which have not seen combat since they were bought back in 2007.
The last time the army deployed a tank was in the Vietnam War, where Australian troops – predominantly army personnel – until January of 1973.
Armoured vehicles are expected to cost Australia between $30 billion and $42 billion in the next three decades as China continues to gain a military advantage.
This cost includes the purchase of ‘essential’ infantry fighting vehicles that come at a price between $18 billion and $27 billion.
The tanks have been kitted out with an upgraded armour package which claims to provide better protection against improvised explosive devices.
The vehicles are set to enter service in 2025.
The decision comes after Australia was ‘forced’ to pursue nuclear submarines because of China’s military build-up in the South China Sea and nearby Papua New Guinea, sparking fears of ‘war’.
In recent years, Communist China has built military bases in the South China Sea and terrorised smaller Asian nations like the Philippines and Vietnam with a series of naval exercises.
University of Sydney Associate Professor of Northeast Asian Politics, James Reilly, said the arms race between China on one side and Australia and the US on the other in this part of the Pacific could lead to ‘war’.
‘I personally am deeply concerned about, what we call in international relations, security dilemmas where each two sides to a dispute keep taking more and more measures that they believe are reasonable and defensive but the other side responds in kind,‘ he told reporters.
‘We end up with spirals of increasing army, military build-ups, mistrust and increasing risk of war.
The risk of war increases the more the countries are arming each other.
Perhaps, James, it is not fabricated war theatre that is the intention for these new purchases.
Maybe, just maybe, forces have withdrawn from the world to police their new enemy: The people.
Military forces have always been nothing more than an insurance policy.
What could be going on with this puchase?
Let us know your thoughts below!
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