The Government will deliver a more capable, agile and potent Australian Defence Force (ADF) that can respond wherever Australia’s interests are engaged. This force will be achieved through the Government’s funding plan, which raises Defence funding to two per cent of Gross Domestic Production by 2020‐21. The Defence budget will rise from $32.4 billion in 2016‐17 to $58.7 billion in 2025‐26, with approximately $195 billion to be invested in Defence capability over this period.
The Government will invest around 25 per cent of Defence capability expenditure to 2025‐26 in our maritime operations and anti‐submarine warfare capabilities as part of a significant regeneration of our maritime capabilities. Key capabilities will include: 12 new regionally superior submarines; nine new anti‐submarine warfare frigates; 12 new offshore patrol vessels; seven additional P‐8A Poseidon maritime surveillance and response aircraft for a total of 15 aircraft by the late 2020s (which will complement the seven MQ‐4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft); new maritime tactical unmanned aircraft to improve our ships’ situational awareness on operations; modernised mine countermeasures and hydrographic‐related capabilities; and a new deployable land‐based anti‐ship missile capability.
The Government will invest around nine per cent of Defence capability expenditure to 2025‐26 in strengthening our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space, and cyber capabilities so that our forces have a comprehensive awareness of what is happening around them and the ability to respond. Key capabilities will include: enhanced intelligence collection and analysis, including in support of targeting; enhancements to broad area surveillance through the acquisition of the MQ‐4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft and enhancements to the Jindalee Operational Radar Network; strengthened electronic warfare support to naval, air and land forces, including through the 12 E/A‐18G Growler electronic attack aircraft and a new long range electronic warfare support capability based on the Gulfstream G550 airframe, with additional modified systems; enhanced space situational awareness; and enhanced cyber capabilities to deter and defend against the threat of cyber attack.
The Government will invest around 25 per cent of Defence capability expenditure to 2025‐26 in the enablers that are essential to the operation and sustainment of the ADF. Even the most capable platforms and systems will not be effective without the enabling capabilities that allow those platforms to operate. Key enabling capabilities to receive substantial investment over the next decade include: our people; critical infrastructure such as bases, training ranges, wharves and airfields; information and communications technology; simulators; logistics; science and technology; health services; and strengthening force design, strategic and international policy.
The Government will invest around six per cent of Defence capability expenditure to 2025‐26 in air and sea lift capabilities. The long distances over which the ADF is required to operate means flexible and high endurance air and sea lift capabilities are essential to lift, move, and sustain the ADF. Key capabilities will include: two additional heavy‐lift C‐17A Globemaster III transport aircraft already acquired to complement the existing six C‐17A fleet (with consideration of further additional heavy lift aircraft at a later stage); two additional KC‐30A air‐to‐air refuellers for a total of seven aircraft (expanding the fleet to nine aircraft will be considered in the longer term); three additional CH‐47F Chinook heavy‐lift helicopters to complement previously planned CH‐47F Chinook heavy‐lift helicopters for a fleet of 10 aircraft, extension and upgrades for the logistics support ship, HMAS Choules; two new replenishment ships by 2026 to resupply naval forces with the option for a third replenishment or additional logistics ship in the late 2020s; and a large hulled multi‐purpose patrol vessel for the Navy to support border protection and maritime resource security related tasks.
The Government will invest around 17 per cent of Defence capability expenditure to 2025‐26 in our strike and air combat capabilities. More potent strike capabilities will provide flexibility for the ADF to rapidly respond to threats against Australia and provide military contributions to support regional security and coalition operations globally where our interests are engaged. Key capabilities will include: 72 F‐35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters to enter service from 2020 to replace the current fleet of 71 F/A‐18A/B Classic Hornets; 12 EA‐18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to enter service from 2018; new air‐to‐surface, air‐to‐air and high‐speed and long‐range strike and anti‐ship weapons; and strengthened command and control, integrated air and missile defence, and situational awareness capabilities to support strike and air combat operations.
The Government will invest around 18 per cent of Defence capability expenditure to 2025‐26 in our land combat and amphibious warfare capabilities to provide greater mobility, firepower, protection and situational awareness. Key capabilities will include: a new program for continuous upgrade of personal equipment and force protection for our soldiers; new combat reconnaissance, infantry fighting, and protected mobility vehicles; upgrades to the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks; new armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aircraft; a new long‐range rocket system to complement existing artillery; logistics enablers to support the amphibious deployment capability of the two Canberra Class ships; and a new fleet of lightly armed boats for operations in a wide range of estuarine environments. Investments in Special Forces will deliver: a fleet of light reconnaissance and attack helicopters, high‐end close combat capabilities, tactical mobility, situational awareness, digital communications, force protection, target awareness and logistic support.