Kuala Lumpur: As Malaysian Defence had pointed out in an earlier post, the Aussies had just come out with the Defence White Paper, entitled “Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030”,
The document, among others includes a commitment to increase defence expenditures in real terms by 3% yearly from its current level of A$22.7 billion through 2017-18, and then by 2.2% yearly until 2030.
The document detailed the Australian government’s plans for the future development of Force 2030, including the major capability investments that will need to be made in the coming years.
The amount of financial commitments is quite impressive despite the current a global recession. With the funding the Australian government believes that its defence will be able to meet its primary obligations to deter and defeat attacks on the country and has sufficient capacity to contribute in military contingencies in support of global security.
Listed below are the brief summary of the main developments for the Services as announced with the White Paper.
Royal Australian Navy
The Navy force structure will include new major destroyers and frigates, submarines, amphibious ships, offshore combat vessels, naval combat helicopters and other advanced enabling capabilities over the next 20 years.
The current six Collins Class submarines will be replaced by a fleet of 12 new subs. The three new Air Warfare Destroyers will receive an enhanced weapons systems, and the acquisition of a fourth AWD vessel is under consideration. The current ANZAC Class frigates will be replaced by eight larger vessels which will focus on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). Beyond that, the Navy will further continue the acquisition of two new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships as well as the purchasing of a new Strategic Sealift vessel, a logistic support ship, 24 new naval combat helicopters, six new MRH-90 helicopters, 20 new Offshore Combatant Vessels and six new ocean-going heavy landing craft.
The 2009 Defence White Paper will deliver an Army for the 21st century equipped with the world class technology that it needs. Therefore, a new Combat Vehicle System will provide some 1,100 vehicles with greatly improved firepower, protection and mobility. The Army will also receive seven new CH-47F Chinook helicopters as well as new artillery, new mortars and a new direct fire anti-armour weapon.
Royal Australian Air Force
The Air Force will receive some 100 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, six new Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft, five KC-30A Multi-Role air-to-air refuelling aircraft, eight new Maritime Patrol Aircraft, seven new high-altitude, long-endurance Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), as well as command, control and surveillance capabilities. All offering air superiority, maritime strike, long-range strategic strike, offensive air support and close air support capability options.
It is this kind of document that Malaysian Defence hoped that Jalan Padang Tembak and its new minister will be able to deliver to the public, to explain the rationale behind our defence spending. Alas the former minister had already stated that the ministry will not produce a similar document. The new minister, after the 600K TA story, had according to colleagues had refused to be drawn into policy matters saying that he would defer such matters to the Dear PM. Another dead end there.
Malaysian Defence is not suggesting that the country fork out the same amount of money that the Oz is planning to spent on defence far from it. But a good well thought-out document would be good step in the right direction. The money, as I had mentioned before, an RM5 billion allocation for the next five years, would be good enough, during this trying time.
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