Between the perceived unreliability of the USA and the continuing rise of China, Australia has in recent years embarked on an ambitious military buildup that has included purchasing long-range spy drones from Washington.
But Australia is also looking forward to an unprecedented naval expansion and even weighing the question of acquiring nuclear weapons.
According to a 2017 plan laid out by the Department of Defense, Canberra has set aside $65.3 billion for warship construction and another $1 billion for shipyard upgrades; the plans include two LHD’s, 12 new submarines and nine new frigates.
Australia is being asked to perform a deputy policing role in the Asia-Pacific region, one it has traditionally performed for its US allies.
Canberra is preparing to shell out $715 million to upgrade naval facilities in Australia’s Northern Territory to accommodate more US warships.
Stars and Stripes reported, citing comments made to them by Australian defense officials, that the Australian Department of Defense intended to upgrade the naval base HMAS Coonawarra and the surrounding Larrakeyah Defense Precinct in the northwestern city of Darwin.
All the upgrades are expected to be complete by 2023, according to the Australian Department of Defense web page on the project.
Stars and Stripes also noted that $88.65 million will go toward upgrading maintenance facilities at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2019.