Australia needs long-range attack capability, says Marles – Australian Aviation

Northrop Grumman’s artist’s rendering shows a B-21 Raider.

Defense Secretary Richard Marles said the ADF needed to invest in long-range attack capabilities because Australia could not rely on the US to guarantee its security.

At the Sydney Institute’s annual dinner, Marles also said Australia must deploy nuclear-powered submarines and “project power and might”.

It comes ahead of the long-awaited review of the new federal government’s defense strategy and follows similar comments from Shadow Defense Secretary Andrew Hastie.

“The reality is that a tougher environment calls for a more hardline Australian approach to defending our interests: the ability to project power to shape outcomes and deflect threats,” Marles said.

“We must deploy and integrate all the arms of national power to achieve Australia’s strategic goals.

“Australia’s defense capabilities cannot match those of the great powers. Australian statecraft is only viable when underpinned by the ability to project force and power: to deter military threats and to defend Australia’s national interests in our immediate region.

“We need to invest in targeted capabilities that will allow us to keep potential adversaries’ forces at bay and increase the calculated cost of aggression against Australia and its interests.

“We must ensure that we give appropriate priority to high-end military capabilities in order to do this.

“The ADF must strengthen its self-reliance to deploy and deliver combat capability through impactful materiel, enhanced strike capability – including at longer ranges – and improved logistics and supply chain support, including through a vibrant and innovative partnership with industry.”

Also earlier this month, Shadow Defense Minister Andrew Hastie said Australia must invest quickly in bombers and drones to prepare for a possible conflict.

The former SAS commander has called for an increase in defense spending “well above” 2 percent of GDP, arguing that “the window is closing fast” in order for Australia to be prepared for a major war.

“(We need) strike bombers, precision-guided missiles, and unmanned autonomous vehicles — in the skies and in the seas below.”

Hastie had previously urged the federal government to study the potential for purchasing the B-21 Raider under development.

“We need to be able to hold off a vulnerable adversary that has passed through the archipelago to our north, and to do that you need attack capabilities — missiles, aircraft and long-range nuclear submarines,” he said.

The B-21 is the “successor” to the UFO-like B-2 Spirit, capable of carrying nuclear weapons and costing $2 billion each.

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