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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made his announcement during the opening of Raytheon Australia's Centre for Joint Integration in AdelaideImage: Morgan Sette/AAP Image/AP/picture alliance

Australia to boost defense, build guided missiles

March 31, 2021

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a large investment plan to ensure Australia's self-reliance for its defense capabilities.


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed a plan on Wednesday to manufacture guided missiles within Australia.

Morrison announced a fast-tracked initiative to set up a $1 billion Australian dollar ($760 million; €650 million) sovereign guided weapons enterprise.

He said the government would partner with a global arms manufacturer and collaborate closely with the US.

He grounded the decision in the need to strengthen Australia's defense capabilities.

"Creating our own sovereign capability on Australian soil is essential to keep Australians safe,'' Morrison said.

Australia seeks 'self-reliance'

The prime minister said that the coronavirus pandemic had revealed just how important it is for Australia to be self-reliant.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, having the ability for self-reliance, be it vaccine development or the defense of Australia, is vital to meeting our own requirements in a changing global environment," he said.

Homegrown missile manufacture is just one part of a drive to revamp Australia's defense and its local defense industry with huge investments spread over 10 years.

Morrison said locally sourced missiles were necessary due to the possibility of global supply chain disruptions.

He added that the plan would create thousands of jobs and may also boost Australian exports.

Defense minister hopes to support Australia's allies

Australia will work closely with the US to increase its defense capabilities. Both countries are part of the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing alliance along with Canada, the UK and New Zealand.

"We will work closely with the United States on this important initiative to ensure that we understand how our enterprise can best support both Australia's needs and the growing needs of our most important military partner," Defense Minister Peter Dutton said.

The enterprise could end up being worth up to AU$40 billion in local production and export, according to Dutton.

The government was looking to work together with a global arms manufacturer for the project.

Australian broadcaster ABC reported that Raytheon Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, Konsberg and BAE Systems Australia were in the running.

ab/nm (dpa, AP)

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