Sydney, Australia, Jan 25 (efe-epa).- The Australian government announced Monday it will spend AU$1 billion ($774 million) on the early development of advanced guided weapons to improve its maritime security in a region dominated by concerns over China’s growing military might.
“This project will provide [the] Navy with leading-edge long-range anti-ship missiles, extended range surface-to-air missiles, advanced light weight torpedoes, and maritime land strike capabilities,” said a statement by Defense Minister Linda Reynolds.
The anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles have ranges in excess of 370 kilometers, while maritime land strike missiles have a range of 1,500 km, it added.
“These new capabilities will provide a strong, credible deterrent that will ensure stability and security in the region,” Reynolds said, also highlighting the protection of the country’s borders and maritime resources.
Reynolds indicated that the naval modernization project seeks to expand the country’s weapons manufacturing base, as well as reinforce the long-term commitment of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government to Australian industry.
“This investment is part of the Morrison Government’s $183 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan, which will see up to 23 classes of vessels built here in Australia, creating thousands of jobs and significant opportunities for Australian industry,” the minister said.
Reynolds added that Australian Defense will continue to invest in the Evolved Seasparrow Block 2 missile program, as well as begin investing in the development of the Standard Missile 2 Block IIIC and the Standard Missile 6 Block 1 to meet the country’s surface-to-air missile capability requirements. EFE-EPA