Australia to fit warships with anti-missile defence systems

Australia to fit warships with anti-missile defence systems”

Speaking on Tuesday at the Pacific 2017 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney, the prime minister said the looming missile threats such as those posed by North Korea "must be met" and that Australia's navy demands a "whole-of-nation response".

The proposed ships will be fitted with Lockheed Martin's state-of-the-art Aegis Combat System, in conjunction with a SAAB tactical interface, bringing Australia up-to-date with United States and Japanese capabilities.

Pyongyang, which ultimately wants to target the USA mainland with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile, has said its missiles could strike Australia.

However, the ships won't have the ability to bring down intercontinental missiles - and they also won't be defending Australia anytime soon.

Malcolm Turnbull also announced SAAB Australia would build a new tactical interface for the frigates allowing the Aegis to work in with the computerised radar developed by Canberra company CEA Technologies.

Three shipbuilders are competing for the $30 billion Future Frigates program and the victor will be announced in 2018, with building expected to start from 2020.

"The missile defence will protect Australia's forward based forces and in a coalition scenario", said Euan Graham, director of the national security program at the Lowy Institute, an Australian think-tank.

Navy chief Tim Barrett said the decision meant sailors would only have to deal with one standard system.

"The choice of the Aegis system allows Australia to plug into the USA alliance".

"This represents an investment of more than $1 billion of investment in the Australian economy".

Australia selected French naval contractor DCNS past year to build its fleet of 12 submarines, ahead of other offers from Japan and Germany, one the world's most lucrative defence contracts.

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