Australia’s defense department announced on Wednesday that the country will be creating a new space division in a bid to protect its satellites from attack.
The division will be established within the Royal Australian Air Force headquarters in Canberra and will have a budget of $7 billion over the next 10 years.
According to Australian Air Force Chief Mel Hupfeld, creating a space division is imperative because the military relies on space for weather prediction, navigation, accessing geospatial information, and sharing data across Australia and throughout the world.
“Defence will need capabilities that directly contribute to outcomes in space as a contested domain, however, this does not mean that Defence encourages the militarization of space,” Hupfeld said. “All Space operations are conducted consistent with international and domestic legal obligations.”
Military officers from the army, navy, and air force will comprise Australia’s new space division. It is set to be established in 2022.
Labor Department Shows Support
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said investing in technology development is essential because the country’s defense force needs to maintain its capabilities.
“There are new frontiers in defense technology all of the time, and any country like ours investing so heavily in our defense needs to keep up with those developments and ideally get ahead of them,” he explained.
“If the developments in technology require us to invest in those areas, then so be it,” he added.
Australia Continues to Strengthen Defense
In April, Australia announced that it would upgrade its military bases and expand joint drills with US forces amid warnings about the “drums of war” in the Pacific region.
Global arms manufacturer BAE Systems Australia also said it will provide additional funding for the development of Canberra’s hypersonic weapons capabilities. A total of $5 million will be allotted for building a high-speed weapons ecosystem.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency also revealed that the US government has approved the sale of 12 MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones to the Southern Pacific nation.