CANBERRA (Realist English). Australia has accelerated plans to buy long-range strike missiles years ahead of schedule because of growing threats posed by Russia and China. This was stated by Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton.
According to him, the accelerated rearmament of fighter jets and warships will cost the budget $ 2.6 billion and will strengthen Australia’s defensive potential against potential adversaries.
“There was a working assumption that an act of aggression by China toward Taiwan might take place in the 2040s. I think that timeline now has been dramatically compressed.” Dutton told Seven Network television.
Under a revised timetable, FA-18F Super Hornet fighter jets would be armed with improved U.S.-manufactured air-to-surface missiles by 2024, three years earlier than planned. The JASSM-ER missiles would enable fighters to engaged targets at a range of 900 kilometers.
Australia’s ANZAC Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers would be equipped with Norwegian-made Kongsberg NSM missiles by 2024, five years ahead of schedule. The new missiles would more than double the warships’ strike range.
The new rearmament schedule appeared after China and the Solomon Islands signed a draft security treaty on March 31. According to its terms, the Chinese Navy will be able to be based in this country, less than 2 thousand km from Australia. In addition, at the request of the Solomon Islands, the Chinese police will have the right to deploy their units to maintain “public order”.
Beijing denies seeking a military foothold on the islands and accuses other countries of escalating tensions. The Prime Minister of the island nation, Manasseh Sogavare, rejected fears that the treaty would jeopardize regional security. He called such concerns “complete nonsense.”
On September 15, 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America created a new anti—Chinese format for trilateral security cooperation – AUKUS. The leaders of the three states called the objectives of such cooperation strengthening security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, a joint response to security challenges and increasing Australia’s defense potential.
AUKUS is a product of American diplomacy aimed at curbing the growth of China’s military power. Canberra became part of Washington’s new anti-Chinese concept, and therefore it was decided to significantly strengthen its military potential in order to use it against Beijing.