Australian defence minister Peter Dutton has announced the purchase of more than 100 new tanks and other combat vehicles from the US worth around $3.5 billion.
He said that the Australian military seeks to add 75 Abrams main battle tanks, 29 assault breacher vehicles, 17 joint assault bridge vehicles, and six armored recovery vehicles to its fleet.
According to Dutton, the acquisition of new military equipment would provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with critical firepower for ground operations.
“Teamed with the Infantry Fighting Vehicle, Combat Engineering Vehicles, and self-propelled howitzers, the new Abrams will give our soldiers the best possibility of success and protection from harm,” he said.
The first batch of vehicles is scheduled to arrive in Australia by 2024, with deployment by the ADF in 2025.
‘Increased Combat Capability’
Dutton explained that the Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles that Australia is purchasing would incorporate the latest developments in the Australian defense sector, specifically in command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems.
The new vehicles will also reportedly take advantage of the intended domestic manufacture of tank ammunition in Australia.
Australian army chief Lt. Gen. Rick Burr stated that the multibillion-dollar investment in tanks would provide the service with a “credible” land combat capability integrated with joint and coalition forces.
“The main battle tank is at the core of the ADF’s combined arms fighting system, which includes infantry, artillery, communications, engineers, attack helicopters, and logistics,” he explained.
He also stressed that armored vehicles can be used across a wide range of scenarios, environments, and levels of conflict due to their versatility.
“This system is the only part of the ADF that can successfully operate in medium to high-threat land environments,” Burr said.