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Saturday, September 12, 2015

$70bn defence boost builds sea defences

RAAF F-35 Lightning IIAustralia’s new defence blueprint will commit more than $70 billion to create the most powerful navy in Australia’s history — including eight new submarines and 12 new warships — but will come at a cost to the army, which will have fewer armoured vehicles for future operatio­ns.

The heavy emphasis on maritime power ahead of land forces in the forthcoming defence white paper reflects ongoing concern about the pace and scale of China’s growing naval capabilities, although the document is not expected to concede publicly that there is a connection.

The decision to choose eight submarines instead of the Abbott government’s election promise of 12 new boats is likely to anger South Australia but it is understood that the white paper will keep open the possibility of a further four submarines being built at a later date.

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