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Australia plans $2.7 billion missile program to bolster military – Times of India

CANBERRA: Australia will outlay A$4.1 billion ($2.7 billion) to increase its stock of long-range missiles and develop a manufacturing industry for guided weapons in response to intensifying strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific.
The government will spend A$1.6 billion to purchase long-range missiles, including additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that Ukraine has successfully deployed against Russia, a statement Wednesday showed. In addition, it will spend A$2.5 billion to locally produce long-range missiles and other weaponry.
A defence strategic review released in Canberra two days ago urged the government to bring Australia into the “missile age,” with defense industry minister Pat Conroy saying at the time that the changes would result in a dramatic widening of the military’s long-range capabilities.
“We’ll go from an Australian Army where the maximum range of the weapons is 40 kilometers (25 miles) to being able to fire missiles initially over a range of 300 kilometers, and with the acquisition of the precision strike missile, ranges in excess of 500 kilometers,” Conroy told reporters Monday.
The strategic review called for sweeping changes to Australia’s defense capabilities, with a focus on missiles and drones that have proved to be key weapons on the modern battlefield. Australia is strengthening its forces as China undertakes a vast military buildup that will mean the US is no longer the sole major power in the Indo-Pacific region.
The new programs are expected to be financed by reallocations of existing defense budget outlays, with no new funding announced ahead of the government’s annual budget due on May 9.
The domestic manufacturing plans will be delayed until mid-2024 when the government is due to receive “concrete” plans on how to expand the industry, according to the statement.

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