The U.S. State Department has approved two potential arms deals for Australia totaling $1.94 billion which are destined to provide the key Indo-Pacific ally with new Abram main battle tanks and more helicopters.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency agreed the first deal on Friday. It is valued at $1.685 billion and sees the United States selling 160 M1A1 tank structures to build M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles and other vehicles, according to the DSCA’s press release.
According to the DSCA, the heavy armed combat systems deal would enhance the “lethality, survivability, and interoperability of the Australian Army” and “strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats.”
UPI reports the principal contractors for the deal would be General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems Leonardo DRS and Honeywell Aerospace.
The second deal, valued at $259 million, involves the sale of an additional four Boeing CH-47F cargo helicopters and related equipment to the Australian government, according to a DSCA press release.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) currently has 10 CH-47F Chinooks which replaced seven legacy CH-47Ds operated since 1995.
All are operated by the Australian Army from Townsville in the northern state of Queensland.
The announcement comes just days after Canberra announced it will invest $580 million to upgrade four northern military bases and expand “war gaming” exercises with the United States, as Breitbart News reported, partnering Australia’s ambitious plans to continue engaging with regional allies and build its defense capabilities accordingly.
Australia will join Japan in a regional defense pact designed to bolster their standing against Beijing’s growing military power and assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. https://t.co/ZYhlX6LwSA
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 10, 2020
“Our focus is on pursuing peace, stability, and a free and open Indo-Pacific, with a world order that favors freedom,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on April 28 when revealing the enhanced cooperation with U.S. forces.
“Working with the United States, our allies, and Indo-Pacific neighbors, we will continue to advance Australia’s interests by investing in the Australian Defence Force, particularly across Northern Australia,” Morrison said.
Canberra’s $580 million investment will expand training facilities for the Australian Defense Forces in Australia’s Northern Territory “with a focus on better integrating Australian troops’ training with key allies including the U.S.,” the Daily Telegraph reported.
The funds will provide for “upgraded firing ranges, weapons training simulation, combat and urban shooting ranges, aviation facilities, support facilities, and accommodation.”
UPI contributed to this story