The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has released a white paper highlighting the government’s $195bn investment plans for the country’s defence capabilities over the coming decade.
The country has decided to increase the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) workforce to approximately 62,400.
The Australian Army will receive new equipment for soldiers and combat engineering, as well as a new generation of armoured combat reconnaissance and infantry fighting vehicles.
In the mid-2020s, a new long-range rocket system will augment the army’s firepower, and medium-altitude unmanned aircraft will enhance surveillance and protection for its land forces.
New general purpose and protected mobility vehicles, including 1,100 Australian-designed and manufactured Hawkei vehicles, will be provided for the army.
According to the white paper, a replacement for the Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle will be introduced from around 2025.
The ADF will also provide new weapons and equipment, as well as enhance tactical mobility, situational awareness and air lift capabilities for domestic counter-terrorism operations.
New armed reconnaissance vehicles will replace the country’s 22 Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters from the mid-2020s.
The budget proposal covers provisions for an estimated $50bn construction of 12 submarines over a period of four decades.
It also covers nine new anti-submarine warfare frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels.
The DoD will place orders for additional air-to-air refuellers, and acquire the F-35A Lightning II and the E/A-18G Growler to complement its existing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWC) fleet.
A statement in the 2016 Defence Whitepaper read: "Australia will continue to seek to be the principal security partner for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Pacific Island Countries, by deepening our security partnerships, including through our Defence Cooperation Programme.
"The most significant element of this programme, the Pacific Maritime Security Program, will provide replacement patrol boats to 12 Pacific Island Countries from 2018."
"The ADF will continue to play an important role in coalition operations where Australia’s Strategic Defence Interests are engaged including our role in international efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction."