Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his country would be investing 1 billion Australian dollars ($761 million) to design and manufacture its own guided missiles to become less reliant on imports from the US and Europe.
“As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, having the ability for self-reliance, be it vaccine development or the defense of Australia, is vital to meeting our own requirements in a changing global environment,” he said.
Defense authorities will be tasked with selecting a company to develop such advanced weaponry. The prime minister made no mention of when the first guided missile would be produced.
The government’s decision to manufacture its own advanced weapons systems is part of an initiative to overhaul the military to create a larger, more powerful force amid China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Officials believe that the local production of advanced guided missiles could cost around 40 billion Australian dollars ($30 billion) over the next 20 years.
‘We’re Going to Be on Our Own’
Lowy Institute Director for International Security Program, Sam Roggeveen, affirmed the government’s stance, saying that Australia must improve its capabilities in producing high-powered weapons. “When it comes to the defense of Australia… we need to be able to do these things on our own,” he stated.
The official also stressed that although the country plans to develop its own guided missiles, it still needs to procure some components such as seekers and chips. “So we will never be entirely ’sovereign’ in this regard,” he explained.
Last year, Australia announced a substantial increase in defense spending to strengthen military firepower in the Indo-Pacific amid escalating tensions with China.