SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will spend A$1 billion ($770 million) developing new naval weaponry capabilities, including long-range missiles and torpedoes, the federal government said on Monday, part of a vast defence upgrade amid rising regional tensions.
The country plans to provide its navy with advanced long-range anti-ship missiles, extended range surface-to-air missiles, advanced lightweight torpedoes, and maritime land strike capabilities to “project and maintain sea control”, the government said in a statement.
“These new capabilities will provide a strong, credible deterrent that will ensure stability and security in the region,” Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said in the statement.
The spending is part of a previously announced defence budget increase over the next decade as the country seeks to pivot its military focus to the Indo-Pacific region amid worsening relations with China.
The government said it would provide anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles with ranges of more than 370 km (230 miles), and maritime land strike missiles with ranges of 1,500 km to “enhance the protection of our maritime resources and borders, and hold adversaries at risk of much greater distances”.
($1 = 1.2967 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; editing by Richard Pullin)