Australia boosts defence spending, aims to double warships

Australia has been looking to build its defence capabilities amid concerns about rising global geopolitical tensions

By REUTERS
February 21, 2024
This handout photo taken and released by the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Defence Force on January 18, 2022, shows the defense is pre-positioning HMAS Adelaide to Brisbane. — AFP/File

SYDNEY: Australia said on Tuesday it would boost its defence spending by an additional A$11.1 billion ($7.25 billion) over the next decade to procure six ‘optionally crewed’ warships and 11 new frigates, as it aims to double its fleet of combat-ready ships.

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Australia has been looking to build its defence capabilities amid concerns about rising global geopolitical tensions and China’s growing influence among some Pacific island nations.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said the government’s plan would eventually increase the navy’s surface combatant fleet to 26 from 11, the largest since the end of the Second World War.

“What is critically important to understand is that as we look forward, with an uncertain world in terms of great power contest, we’ll have a dramatically different capability in the mid-2030s to what we have now,” Marles told reporters. “That is what we are planning for and that is what we are building.”

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