Preparing Army to deny adversaries

Department of Defence

Littoral manoeuvre, land-based strike and battlefield aviation are among the Australian Army capabilities to receive large investment commitments under the newly released Integrated Investment Program.

The spending will enable Army to deny a potential adversary’s freedom of action, as outlined by the National Defence Strategy, released on April 17.

Direct investments in the amphibious-capable combined-arms land system total about $36 billion to $44 billion.

Additional investments include about $3.9 billion to $4.9 billion for land-based strike, about $5.2 billion to $7.2 billion for land command systems and more than $9 billion for Army’s estate and infrastructure.

The funding will help optimise Army for littoral manoeuvre in Australia’s northern approaches and includes the development of long-range land and maritime strike systems.

About $7 billion to $10 billion will be set aside for 18 medium and eight heavy landing craft to be based in south-east Queensland, north Queensland and Darwin, and $5 billion to $7 billion for supporting infrastructure. The landing craft will be built in Australia and delivered between 2026 and 2037.

Land-based strike funding includes the accelerated acquisition of 42 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems with precision strike and guided multiple launch munitions. After the first long-range fires regiment is established, missile stockpiles will progressively increase.

Investment also includes new land-based radar networks to improve Defence’s ability to detect and track approaching threats.

In battlefield aviation, $9 billion to $10 billion will fund 40 UH-60M Black Hawks, 29 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and an expanded fleet of 14 CH-47F Chinooks.

The Integrated Investment Program beds in funding for previously announced acquisitions such as the Redback infantry fighting vehicle, M1A2 Abrams main battle tank and Huntsman self-propelled howitzer.

Between $1.6 billion and $2.1 billion is earmarked to modernise special operations capability, enabling continued reconnaissance, targeting, strike, technical operations and enhanced engagement.

A restructure of Army’s divisions, commands and formations will include specialised combat and support brigades, and a new dedicated fires brigade and littoral manoeuvre group, scheduled to be in operation by 2026.

The public National Defence Strategy and Integrated Investment Program is available on the National Defence Strategy website.

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