Australia plans to spend 195 billion dollars (US$139 billion) over the next decade for bolstering its defence capability, including a doubling of its submarine fleet to 24, three additional destroyers, nine new frigates and 12 offshore patrol boats.
The details were provided in a White Paper released today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who justified the proposed spending by citing “high stakes” and “momentous times” in Asia.
“These are momentous times. The stakes are high. And as the opportunities expand, so does the cost of losing them,” Turnbull said in reports quoted in the Australian media.
Among the proposed procurement are seven U.S.-made MQ-4C Triton drones and eight P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Australia has already contracted to procure 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from 2020. It also plans to upgrade or procure new equipment such as artillery and tanks for its land forces.
Some 2,500 new military roles will be created to expand the total defense force to 62,400 personnel, with 900 jobs focused on improved cyber, intelligence and space security.
The cash injection would take Australia’s defense spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2020-21, three years earlier than previously outlined, Turnbull said.