Australia unveiled a plan on Wednesday to partner up with a global arms manufacturer and build its own guided missiles to boost the country’s defence capabilities.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the accelerated creation of a one-billion-Australian-dollar (760 million dollars) sovereign guided weapons enterprise.
It will support missile and guided weapons manufacturing for the Australian military, Morrison’s office said in a statement.
The Department of Defence was seeking an industry partner to operate a new weapons manufacturing facility on the government’s behalf.
Australian broadcaster ABC reported that Raytheon Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, Konsberg and BAE Systems Australia were in the running.
Morrison said it was essential to create a “sovereign capability on Australian soil’’, to keep Australians safe.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, having the ability for self-reliance, be it vaccine development or the defence of Australia, is vital to meeting our own requirements in a changing global environment,’’ Mr Morrison said.
Australia will work closely with the United States on the initiative, Defence Minister Peter Dutton said.
The new enterprise could be worth 40 billion Australian dollars in local production and export over the next two decades, according to Melissa Price, Minister of Defence Industry.