Australia’s $965M Investment to upgrade Maritime Surveillance Fleet



The requirement of maritime surveillance is in more limelight and crucial than ever before, with the center of gravity of conflict veering towards the waters and oceans. Australia has the third-largest marine jurisdiction in the world, with an 8.2 million square kilometers exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This area has significant economic and conservation value because it is home to oil and gas fields, fisheries, and shipping channels. Australia is situated close to important maritime powers like China, India, and Indonesia and is surrounded by some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. For the purpose of extensive maritime interests and preventing foreign attacks and keeping track of local ship and aircraft movements, maritime surveillance is important.

Significance of Maritime Surveillance for Australia

The Australian government’s investment in maritime surveillance is a reflection of the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region. The Australian government’s investment in maritime surveillance is also a signal of its commitment to working with its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. Australia is a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) commonly known as Quad, including four countries i.e. Australia, India, Japan, and the United States that are committed to cooperating on security issues in the Indo-Pacific. The Quad has been working to strengthen maritime cooperation in the region, therefore, the Australian government’s investment in maritime surveillance will complement these efforts. A well-protected maritime domain is not only essential for Australia’s trade and commerce but also for deterring foreign aggression and responding to maritime emergencies.

Australia to boost Maritime Surveillance Fleet

The Australian government’s decision to buy a new drone and upgrade existing patrol and response aircraft in a 1.5 billion Australian dollars ($965 M) deal is a significant investment in its maritime surveillance capabilities. The new drone, a MQ-4C Triton, is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can fly for up to 24 hours at a time. It is equipped with a powerful radar system that can detect and track ships and aircraft over large areas of ocean. The Triton will be based in Australia’s Northern Territory, which is closer to Asia and the Pacific Islands than the country’s southern coastline. The upgrades to the existing patrol and response aircraft, which include 14 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, will focus on improving their anti-submarine warfare, maritime strike, and intelligence collection capabilities which is anticipated to be completed by 2030. To conclude, the new investment and upgraded maritime surveillance will give Australia the ability to better monitor and protect its maritime interests which is also important for both economic and security reasons.



Ezba Walayat

Research Associate, Pakistan House

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