Australia makes massive move on missile program — Analysis

Major military upgrades are needed in light of war in Ukraine and growing Chinese influence in South Pacific

Australia is accelerating its plan to improve its air- and seapower with the launch of new missiles and an investment of $2.6 billion in new missiles. This is despite growing fears about China’s influence in South Pacific and Ukraine. 

“When you see what’s happening in the Ukraine, when you see what potential there is for conflict in the Indo-Pacific, this is very real for us now and we need to be realistic [to] deter any act of aggression and to help keep peace in our own region,”On Tuesday, Defense Minister Peter Dutton spoke to reporters. 

Part of it will be spent to arm Australia’s fleet of FA-18F Super Hornet fighter jets with JASSM-ER missiles. The extended-range missiles, which Lockheed Martin made in America will enable warplanes of enemy aircraft to strike at targets up to 900 km (560 miles) away. Australia originally planned to improve its air-to surface missile capabilities. However, a new timetable has been established for 2024. It is three years earlier than the old schedule.

It also plans to upgrade its navy by 2024. This includes arming the ANZAC Class ships and Hobart Class destroyers, with NSMs (Naval Strike Missiles). These are manufactured in Norway by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and promise to more than double the striking range of Australia’s warships. Canberra had previously allowed an additional five years’ time to finish the upgrade, expecting to be finished by 2029. 

Australia to expand military personnel by nearly a third

The revised timetable comes on the heels of a new security pact between China and the Solomon Islands, which has invited speculation over the possibility of a new Chinese naval base soon appearing in Australia’s back yard. Samuel Paparo (US Pacific Fleet Commander) spoke out to reporters Monday. “very concerning”Both nations deny plans for a similar naval base. 

The announcement comes amid growing collaboration with AUKUS – a three-party military alliance in which it works with the UK and US on weapon development. AUKUS has announced that it will work with China on hypersonic weapons, something Beijing condemned as unlawful. “Cold war mentality”An “Anglo-Saxon clique.” Russia and China have both successfully tested hypersonic missiles, a weapon for which no effective defense currently exists. In a Tuesday interview with Sky News, Australian Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce deemed China’s hypersonic weapons development to be an “existential threat.” He justified Australia’s weapons upgrades and deepening ties with AUKUS as a means to keep Australians “right at the top of our game.” 

The Western military alliance will work together on hypersonic weapons

China tested its hypersonic missile that could travel 40,000 km (24,855 mi) in less than 100 minutes in July. This feat led US Admiral Charles Richard to evaluate the missile. “the greatest distance and longest flight time of any land attack weapon system of any nation to date.” 

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