Defence Expenditure

‘Projects axed to fund spy planes’ is the spin at The Australian. Not hard to find a negative spin if you want but defence expenditure is a difficult game and like a battle plan must remain felxible when it comes in contact with the enemy (or reality).
“The ground-based air defence system for the army was a missile system that was going to replace the Rapier surface-to-air missiles and that’s dropped out,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Aldo Borgu said yesterday. “So there’s a question mark over whether there’s adequate air defence cover of our troops when they are deployed.”
Could someone remind me of the last time Aussie troops were attacked by air. World War Two, I think. I’m not saying our troops don’t need air defence cover but if we have to opt for Global Hawks, new tanks and ships over air defence missiles then I’d go for the former group every time.
The cuts have been made to pay for the $1 billion purchase of up to 12 US-made Global Hawk unmanned spy planes, up to 100 new main battle tanks for $600 million and extra ships worth up to $3.5 billion to transport troops to areas of conflict.
The Global hawks will replace the Orions operating out of South Australia and will do an exponentially better job. The Orions have been around for nearly as long as I have and like me, can only be described as ‘tired’ old technology. global.jpg Read all about the Global Hawk here. Likewise the tanks need replacing and I’ve argued for decades that we need efficient, modern ships to take our troops and all their support to conflict areas. It may have escaped some commentators notice but defence has had huge changes in it’s expected role of late. While we still must be prepared to fight a conventional war we have been increasingly involved in conflict that is anything but conventional. Rapier missiles would not have helped at the WTC, Bali or Iraq, but Global Hawks were very useful in Iraq and new ships to transport troops to conflict areas with their guns and modern tanks will always be needed in any type of conflict. I tried to get info from but it’s not loading. Must be the RAAF’s turn to run it and they’re all busy celebrating not having to fly long, lonely, boring recon patrols . Good idea, I reckon. Go for it.

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