By Herman Schoenfeld
The Albanese government has gone a multi-billion dollar spending spree arming up for war.
NEW ROCKET SYSTEMS
Earlier in January, Australia acquired a US-made long-range, mobile rocket system, similar to the one used by Ukraine in their conflict with Russian forces.
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) will be used to deter attacks on Australia, but can also be transported by plane for use worldwide.
The decision to purchase HIMARS was influenced by the system’s effectiveness in the Ukraine conflict, according to Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy.
“In the current strategic environment, it’s important the Australian Defence Force is equipped with high-end, targeted military capabilities.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP
The HIMARS will extend the Australian army’s strike range from 30 kilometres to 300km, and eventually to 500km with a future precision-strike missile.
The minister stated that the system’s ease of transport makes it a “really fundamental asset” that can be deployed anywhere in the world.
The government plans to deploy HIMARS, which includes launchers, missiles, and training rockets, in 2026-2027.
The Department of Defence has also signed a contract with Kongsberg, a Norway-based company, to fit the Navy’s Hobart Class destroyers and Anzac Class frigates with the Naval Strike Missiles (NSM) beginning in 2024. The NSM will be used to replace the outdated Harpoon anti-ship missile on these ships.
“The Naval Strike Missile is a major step up in capability for our Navy’s warships.”
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy MP
Additionally, the Albanese government revealed on January 17 that they intend to purchase 40 Black Hawk helicopters for $2.8 billion, as a replacement for the army’s current fleet.
These acquisitions align with the “AirSea Battle” strategy, which previously was considered a “unthinkable war” but now seems to be a looming reality as preparations for advanced naval warfare in the Indo-Pacific region appear to be underway.
This emphasis on military preparedness has been accompanied by an increase in assertive diplomatic actions by the Australian government in the Pacific region.
Australia aims to counter perceived Chinese influence and promote military agreements with Pacific nations.
They have already entered into such an agreement with Vanuatu, allowing for significant Australian military presence on the island, and are pressuring Papua New Guinea to do the same.
Whilst the cost of all these systems were not disclosed, it is part of a larger spending plan that totals over $4 billion.
Guns, it seems, are great for government but just not for it’s people.
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