Forces: January 18, 2001


: More details have become available on the Australian plan for massive defense expenditures.

The Army will get:

@ 20-24 armed recon helicopters

@ Another squadron of 12 tactical lift helicopters

@ Continuing the program to upgrade 350 tracked M113 armored personnel carriers.

@ A new medium-range air-defense missile to replace Rapier.

@ A new shoulder-fired guided weapon to destroy bunkers and tanks.

@ A fleet of 20 self-propelled 120mm mortars on 8x8 wheeled carriers.

@ A new thermal surveillance system.

@ New tactical unmanned recon drones.

@ Improved body armor, night vision gear, radios, and infantry weapons.

@ Replacing the truck fleet starting in 2008.

@ Establishing Australia's own version of the Fort Irwin national training center.

The Royal Australian Air Force will get:

@ 100 new tactical combat aircraft, starting in 2012, to replace the F-18 and F-111.

@ Four AWACS planes (with options to buy three more).

@ Five aerial tankers to enter service in 2006.

@ Replacing the ancient DHC-6 Caribou tactical transports starting in 2010.

@ Refurbishing the existing fleet of C-130H transport planes.

@ Improved electronic warfare self-protection for transports and helicopters.

@ Electro-optical sensors for the P-3C Orion maritime patrol planes, which are to be refurbished or replaced starting in 2007.

@ A new lightweight torpedo to be carried by aircraft starting in 2002.

The Royal Australian Navy will get:

@ Three new anti-aircraft destroyers, the first to enter service in 2013.

@ Replacing the heavy transport HMAS Tobruk in 2010 and the two underway replenishment ships by 2009.

@ Replacing the two amphibious assault ships in 2015.

@ Replacing the Balikpapan-class heavy landing craft and the LCM8 landing craft.

@ Upgrade the defenses of most ships against anti-ship missiles.

@ A new fleet of patrol boats are to start entering service in 2004.

@ All six of the Collins-class submarines will get new advanced combat management systems.

@ A new heavy torpedo to enter service in 2006.

@ A major mid-life upgrade for the S70 SeaHawk helicopter fleet. -Stephen V Cole


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