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Australia to speed up purchase of sea mines for maritime defense


Australia will accelerate plans to buy advanced sea mines to protect its maritime routes and ports from “potential aggressors” amid the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) attempts to increase its influence in the Pacific region.

The mines are designed to differentiate between military targets and other types of ships, the Australian Defence Department said in a late January 2023 statement.

The mines “will help to secure sea lines of communication and protect Australia’s maritime approaches,” the statement said. “A modern sea mining capability is a significant deterrent to potential aggressors.” (Pictured: The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Wollongong patrols in the Torres Strait in 2021.)

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported that Canberra would spend up to U.S. $698 million for the high-tech underwater weapons.

“What we need is to make sure we have the best possible defenses,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told national broadcaster ABC. “So, we have looked at missile defense, we’re looking at cybersecurity, we’re looking at all of these issues.”

The PRC entered into a security pact with the Solomon Islands in 2022, raising concerns in Australia and elsewhere about a possible Chinese military presence in the Pacific region.

Australia has been boosting its defense capabilities in recent years, including through the AUKUS security pact it signed with the United Kingdom and the United States in 2021. Under the agreement, the partners will develop advanced capabilities and support Canberra’s acquisition of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.



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