Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the government will invest A$500m ($338.15m) in advanced equipment to enhance the capabilities of the country’s special forces.

The funding is the first stage of Project GREYFIN, which will see spending of A$3bn ($2.02bn) over a period of 20 years.

The investment is intended to better equip Australia’s Special Forces to better respond to threats, including terrorism.

Morrison said: “I’ve always said keeping Australians safe is my government’s number one priority. That’s why we’re ensuring the men and women in our special forces have the equipment and training they need to succeed in their operations.

“Global threats will continue to evolve in ways which threaten Australia’s interests. This funding will ensure our special forces have cutting edge capabilities to stay ahead of those who might threaten Australia’s interests.”

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds stated that project GREYFIN will focus on equipping the special forces with ‘the best’  communications, body armour, weapons, medical search and rescue, as well as diving, parachuting, roping and climbing systems.

The project funding will cover human performance training and support.

For the Australian defence industry, the project funding will mean opportunities for small-to-large enterprises.

The funding approval is in line with the special operations capability enhancements outlined in the Defence White Paper 2016.

Reynolds said: “Our special forces, now more than ever, need to be ready and able to deploy on operations anywhere in the world, at short notice, and in very uncertain conditions.

“This first stage of funding enables our special forces to engage with intelligence, science and technology, and innovation organisations to ensure future threats and opportunities are assessed, to make sure we are delivering them the capability they need in the future.”

The government aims to increase investment in defence to 2% of GDP by the fiscal year ending June 2021.