Morrison triples battle tank fleet

THE US State Department will soon sign-off a A$2.6b arms deal to the Australian government for 160 new Abrams tanks and four Chinook helicopters. 

The sale comes amid Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s pledge last year to increase defence spending in response to rising geopolitical tension in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace…
US State Department

Australia will purchase 160 M1A1 tank hulls and convert them into different vehicles, including 75 M1A2 main battle tanks; 29 M1150 assault breacher vehicles; 18 M1074 joint assault bridges; and 6 M88A2 hercules combat recovery vehicles.

The cost of the tanks will be A$2.2b.

The Australian Army currently fields 59 Abrams main battle tanks but have not deployed them since their original purchase in 2007.

SECURITY

Four CH-47F Chinook helicopters will also bolster the existing fleet of ten at the cost of A$330m.

The US State Department said the proposed sale would support the foreign policy and the national security objectives of the United States.

“Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region,” it said in a statement.

“It is vital to the US national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability.

“The proposed sale improves Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing the lethality, survivability and interoperability of the Australian Army.”

The State Department last month approved the sale of 12 MQ-9B drone aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force for A$2.1b.

PLEDGE

The arms spending comes following the release of the new Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan in July 2020 that saw the Morrison government pledge A$270b in funding for the Australian Defence Forces.

An ongoing aim of the government has been to push defence spending past two per cent of GDP, with Mr Morrison declaring last August that under the new framework, two per cent was no longer a target but a floor for defence funding.

It also comes amid growing concerns over Beijing’s increased posturing in the South China Sea and Taiwan.

The Prime Minister stated last year during the launch of the Strategic Update that Australia faced a world “that is poorer, that is more dangerous, and that is more disorderly”.

“We have not seen the conflation of global, economic and strategic uncertainty now being experienced here in Australia, in our region, since the existential threat we faced when the global and regional order collapsed in the 1930s and 1940s,” he said.PC

Daniel Y Teng

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  Scott Morrison inspects a Qld built armoured vehicle (courtesy The New Daily)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on May 3, 2021. Re-used with permission.
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2 thoughts on “Morrison triples battle tank fleet

  1. Hopefully, no country apart from India – but including the USA – will ever contemplate fighting a land war against China – that would be the stupidest possible decision. We tried that in Korea and Vietnam and look where it got us! Therefore, any non-nuclear war with them would have to be via sea and air. Under those circumstances, if Australia should ever be attacked by China we will need defensive weapons like naval vessels, fighter aircraft, short-range missiles, tanks and air defense systems like Iron Dome that has proven so successful in Israel. These are the types of defensive weaponry that we should be heavily investing in to help safeguard our future.

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