Australia's Naval Splurge All About Deterring China


(MENAFN- Asia Times) Australia has announced an ambitious naval shipbuilding plan aimed to check China's expansion in its maritime peripheries and enable it to play a more significant role in a potential war over Taiwan.

This month, the Australian government unveiled its Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant Fleet initiative , which aims to substantially bolster the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) surface fleet in light of the current fleet's perceived inadequacy in fulfilling strategic requirements.

The document recommended building a fleet with enhanced lethality capable of operating effectively in Australia's strategic environment and complementing the capabilities of conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines.

The proposed fleet includes a mix of Tier 1 and Tier 2 surface combatants. The Tier 1 combatants consist of three Hobart class destroyers and six Hunter class frigates to provide essential advanced air defense, long-range strike, presence and undersea warfare.

The plan mentions the acquisition of six Large Optionally Crewed Surface Vessels (LOSVs) with 32 Vertical Launching System (VLS) cells, providing enhanced lethality through additional multi-domain strike capacity and directly increasing survivability, lethality and endurance while increasing distributed fleet lethality with a lower cost and crewing impact.

The Tier 2 combatants consist of at least seven and optimally 11 ships for undersea warfare to operate independently and in conjunction with the Tier 1 ships to secure maritime trade routes, northern approaches and escort military assets. The Tier 2 ships will consist of retained Anzac-class frigates until replaced by newer combatants.

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