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Update: Australia releases first funding tranche for maritime guided weapons

The Australian government on 25 January confirmed a funding commitment of AUD1 billion (USD770 million) “to commence the early development of advanced guided weapons to enhance Australia’s maritime security”.

The announcement marks the first tranche of a planned investment of between AUD16.1 billion and AUD24.2 billion over the next 20 years for the Maritime Guided Weapons acquisition programme outlined in the Australian Department of Defence (‘Defence’) July 2020 Force Structure Plan.

Designated Project SEA1300 Navy Guided Weapons, the programme aims to deliver the key themes of the Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan by providing the navy with more potent capabilities to hold adversary forces and infrastructure further from Australia.

“Rather than having individual projects, as we have done in the past, we have now effectively pulled all of the Maritime Guided Weapons into a single programme, and what we will do now is bring all of the programmes through to government, and the government will then agree on tranches of funding,” Rear Admiral Pete Quinn, Navy Capability head, Royal Australian Navy (RAN), told Janes .

As part of the government’s May 2017 wider AUD183 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan, the initial investment provides for the development and acquisition of “leading-edge long-range anti-ship missiles, extended range surface-to-air missiles, advanced lightweight torpedoes, and maritime land-strike capabilities”, according to a statement from the office of Australian Federal Minister of Defence Linda Reynolds. Project SEA1300 is designed to complement parallel developments in shipbuilding and introduction of the RAN’s Next-Generation Combat Management Systems.

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