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Australia to spend over $7B to double size of its naval fleet

Australia to spend over $7B to double size of its naval fleet

- Defense Ministry says Canberra will get 26 major surface combatant ships

By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) - Amid an armed race in Asia-Pacific, Australia on Tuesday announced its plan to double the size of its fleet of major warships and modernize its navy with further spending of over $7 billion.

In a statement, the Defense Ministry said the country will get 26 major surface combatant ships, including three Hobart class air warfare destroyers with upgraded air defense and strike capabilities.

"Navy’s future fleet will be integral to ensure the safety and security of our sea lines of communication and maritime trade, through operations in our immediate region. This fleet will constitute the largest number of surface combatants since World War II," it said.

The Australian navy will also get six Hunter class frigates, 11 new general purpose frigates, and six new Large Optionally Crewed Surface Vessels under the new plan.

"Our strategic circumstances require a larger and more lethal surface combatant fleet, complemented by a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine fleet," said the ministry.

Commenting on the new plan, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles said his country's modern society and economy rely on access to the high sea trade routes for their imports and exports.

“The enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet will ensure the Navy is optimised for operations in our current and future environment, underpinned by the meticulous assessment conducted by the Independent Analysis Team," said Marles.

To implement the new plan, the government will spend AUD $11.1 billion ($7.3 billion) over the next decade for accelerated delivery of the navy’s future surface combatant fleet and to expand Australia’s shipbuilding industry.

The latest announcement came after Canberra announced a major restructuring of its military to make it more prepared for combat in the region in September last year.

Earlier, the Australian government also commissioned an "independent review" of its intelligence agencies to check the spy agencies’ ability to serve the country.

In July last year, Australia signed an over AUD $1 billion ($664.5 million) agreement with Germany to build Boxer Heavy Weapon Carriers for Berlin.

On Sept. 15, 2021, Australia, the US, and UK announced the formation of AUKUS, a trilateral security treaty for the Indo-Pacific region. It is primarily intended for China, which is becoming more assertive in the region.

In March last year, former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating slammed Anthony Albanese's government for a tripartite deal with Washington and London and claimed that the approach behind the AUKUS deal was to have the US supply nuclear submarines for deep and joint operations against China.


* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid.

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