Dutton announces advanced weapons upgrade, warns of conflict ‘within a couple of years’

Defence Peter Dutton has spruiked the Coalition’s national security record today as he announced a major weapons upgrade for the ADF.

With a federal election expected to be called by Scott Morrison this week, Mr Dutton told Today the Prime Minister’s falling popularity was not a liability for the Coalition.

Mr Dutton today announced a $3.5 billion military upgrade for the ADF driven by what he said was a worsening global security situation.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said China’s big naval buildup in the Indo-Pacific was a major concern for Australia. (China Ministry of Defence) (China Ministry of Defence)

The Federal Government is bringing forward the purchase of advanced weapons, with the aim of establishing an Australian missile manufacturing sector.

US defence contractors Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Australia will be the strategic partners to set up a sovereign missile industry.

Mr Dutton said the government was concerned about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and China’s military build-up in the Indo Pacific.

“Everything we’re doing is designed to try and deter any act of aggression… we want peace to prevail,” Mr Dutton said.

“We have an autocrat in Russia and an autocrat in China … The Chinese government is on a course in relation to Taiwan and amassing nuclear weapons.”

In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Acquisition Program Administration, a US F-35A fighter jet lands at Cheongju Air Base in Cheongju, South Korea.
Royal Australian Air Force F-35 warplanes will be equipped with long range advanced missiles. (AP)

He said China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy was amassing a “huge number” of warships and Australian defence planners were reassessing the risk of conflict in the Indo-Pacific region.

Mr Dutton said Australia’s strategic outlook was becoming “more complex and challenging”

“There is potential of conflict in our area in a couple of years,” he said.

Under the Federal Government’s plan, Australian naval vessels and warplanes will be equipped with advanced missiles by 2024, three years ahead of schedule.

Mr Dutton also said Mr Morrison had taken the “tough decisions” on national security and other policies.

PM Scott Morrison's visit to the Australian Synchrotron in Clayton, Victoria.
Peter Dutton insisted Scott Morrison was not a liability to the Coalition. (The Age)

He was also asked about polls showing Mr Morrison’s popularity falling and internal criticism by some Coalition MPs.

Mr Dutton insisted Mr Morrison would not be a liability for the Coalition in the May election and criticism of him and the “messy” situation over NSW pre-selection of candidates were “all in the background”.

“Politics is an unforgiving business … but we’ve made some pretty tough decisions over the past 12 months to face reality.”

Mr Dutton claimed voters would not trust a Labor government in terms of national security.

Why the South China Sea dispute matters

Reference-www.9news.com.au

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