Australia to Double Navy Size to Largest Since World War II

The Royal Australian Navy’s fleet will more than double over the next decade, government officials announced on February 20. Australia plans to increase its current fleet of combat-ready warships from 11 to 26, making it the country’s largest fleet since World War ii.

Defense spending: The government will spend an extra $7.2 billion over the next decade for the delivery of these additional ships. This means defense spending will increase to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product by the mid-2030s, up from the expected 2.1 percent this year.

This decision we are making right now sees a significant increase in defense spending … and it is needed, given the complexity of the strategic circumstances that our country faces.
—Richard Marles, Australia’s defense minister

Threats: Australia is especially worried about the threat of China’s and Russia’s military buildup. Australia’s 2023 strategic review said competition between the United States and China is defining the Pacific region, leading to “potential conflict.”

The Trumpet says: As the U.S. becomes an unreliable ally and global tensions rise, Australia increasingly sees the need to defend itself. In 2008, we wrote:

Australia is a non-nuclear-armed minnow floating on the southern rim of a rapidly expanding nuclear-enabled East Asian bloc. …

The time is fast approaching when the continent of Australia will be caught in the crossfire between two great, economically and militarily expanding power blocs, the European Union and a great pan-Asian bloc.

Learn more: Read “Can Australia Defend Itself?