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    Australia’s Defence Force’s Quest to Innovate and Expand

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    Australia's Defence Force
    An artist’s concept of the nuclear-powered submarine SEAWOLF (SSN-21).

    Summary

    Australia is planning to expand its current defence force by increasing the country’s air, land, sea space and cyber capabilities. In addition, the military cooperation within AUKUS will expand to include the development of hypersonic missiles. 

    KJ-1 It is highly likely that defence spending will increase in the next 6 months. 

    • Australia’s defence spending has increased in the past years. In fact, it has risen from A$30 billion in 2015 to A$50 billion in this year’s budget. According to Australia government plans, the defence budget will reach A$70 billions by 2030. [source]
    • According to Prime Minister Morrison, the government’s investments in Australia’s national security are aimed at increasing the country’s air, land, sea, space and cyber capabilities. [source]
    • The Government of Australia has announced that it plans to expand its defence personnel by nearly 30% by 2040. Therefore, the total number of the permanent Australia Defence Force personnel will increase by 80.000. The plan seeks to increase the defence workforce in every state and territory, with the majority of the expansion taking place in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. The estimated costs of this expansion are approximately A$28 billion. [source]
    • The new defence personnel will help to fill gaps in the current force. This increase will help Australia’s upcoming nuclear submarines construction. In addition, will also allow the army to expand its intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities. [source]

    KJ-2 It is likely that military cooperation within AUKUS will increase in the upcoming 6 months. 

    • Australia, UK and US in 2021 created a new defence alliance called AUKUS. The main reason is to contrast China’s growing military assertiveness in the Pacific. This trilateral defence pact envisages a wide range of diplomatic and technological collaboration, from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence. [source]
    • However, the core of this agreement is to help Australia acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered (but not nuclear-armed) submarines. These submarines are faster and harder to detect than conventionally powered ones. They can stay submerged for months and shoot missiles at longer distance. Australia will become the seventh nation to have nuclear-powered submarines, after the US, UK, France, China, India and Russia. [source]
    • On April 2022, the three countries agreed to expand their collaboration as to include hypersonic missiles, a system that is so fast that it cannot be intercepted by current missile defence systems. [source]

    KJ-3 It is likely that defence cooperation with Japan and India will increase in the following 6 months.

    • Australia and Japan signed the Reciprocal Access Agreement on 6 January 2022. This strategic cooperation between the two countries will strengthen their military capabilities as well as bilateral cooperation. In addition, the agreement focuses on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as well as joint military training exercises in the region. [source]
    • In March 2022, India and Australia formally announced a series of deals worth $190 millions to tighten their alliance. For instance, these package include a $25.2 million programme on space cooperation and a $4.3 million to support work on liquified natural gas supply between India, Australia and Bangladesh. Moreover, $17.9 million will be invested to enhance the two countries collaboration on critical minerals, which are vital for the production of high technology. [source]
    Arianna Sparviero
    Arianna Sparviero
    Arianna Sparviero is a graduate student at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She is currently enrolled in the first year of the master course in International Affairs.

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