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Australia is allocating 1.5 billion Australian dollars ($964.88m) for enhancing maritime surveillance, including the acquisition of a new drone.
Pat Conroy, the defense industry minister, announced on Tuesday that the military is set to acquire a fourth MQ-4C Triton drone and upgrade 14 existing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. Expected to be stationed in northern Australia, the Triton will be delivered by 2024. The upgrades, commencing in 2026 and wrapping up by 2030, aim to bolster anti-submarine warfare, maritime strike, and intelligence collection.
Conroy emphasized the strategic significance of the Triton, stating it will “enhance operations from Australia’s northern bases,” aligning with one of the country’s six defense strategy priorities. He further highlighted, “The upgrades to the fleet of Poseidon aircraft strengthens our ability to secure and protect Australia’s maritime interests.”
Australia is reshaping its defense approach amid rising tensions in East Asia and China’s military modernization. This also includes deepening ties with Southeast Asia, the Asia Pacific, the United States, and the United Kingdom, especially after forming the AUKUS trilateral security alliance in 2021.
Under AUKUS, Australia will procure three nuclear-powered submarines and collaborate in areas like artificial intelligence and advanced weaponry.