Australia to buy ‘smart marine mines’ in multi-billion dollar deal that distinguishes between military and civilian vessels. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia plans to acquire advanced sea mines to defend its territorial waters from Chinese naval incursions and other potential enemies.
The government will spend up to $1 billion acquiring high-tech underwater weapons. To be relevant in future operations by expanding range, survivability, lethality, and sustainability, adopting a modular, open systems strategy that permits rapid integration of developing technology is necessary.
The report, citing sources, says the government will soon declare that it has signed a contract with a European arms supplier to buy numerous sea mines.
The report adds that the Department of Defense plans to purchase sophisticated multi-influence landmines that respond to pressure, magnetic, and acoustic impacts from approaching ships. Also, they can be dropped to the bottom of the ocean from an airplane, ship, or submarine.
In a statement, the Department confirmed that it was accelerating the purchase of “smart marine mines.” Claiming that new technology would help protect shipping lanes and safeguard Australia’s borders.
Unlike conventional land mines, high-tech mines can tell the difference between military and civilian vessels. An unnamed European manufacturer will supply high-tech naval mines with remote activation and deactivation.
According to the sources, the total cost of the agreement is confidential, but it is likely to be between 500 and 1,000 million dollars. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told ABC television that he would not preempt such national security concerns.
He promised a swift response from the government to the Defense Strategic Review, suggesting that the administration is already working to prepare for any future conflicts.
“We have to make sure we have the best defenses possible. So we’ve looked at missile defense, we’re looking at cybersecurity, we’re looking at all these issues,” Albanese said.
Australia wants to increase its naval capacity.
Sea mines are self-contained explosive devices that can be placed in strategic locations, such as straits and harbors, to detonate invading enemy ships. Australia’s last significant effort to accumulate a sizeable stockpile of sea mines was discontinued in the 1990s.
Defense experts have noted that the Australian Defense Forces need a combination of influence mines and more advanced cased torpedo mines that can be dropped from surface ships (offshore patrol vessels and vessels of opportunity), aircraft (P-8 and heavy transport), and submarines.
Since China is spending so much money on constructing a powerful navy, analysts say that Australia should consider using sea mines as a deterrent. Sea mines are versatile weapons that can be used for offense or defense.
Under former Defense Minister Peter Dutton, the Australian Department of Defense launched the SEA2000 project in 2021 to investigate ways to enhance its warfare capabilities by deploying smart sea mines.
In recent years, Australia has tried to increase its defense budget and, in 2021, even signed a contract to buy nuclear submarines from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Last year, the Solomon Islands and China signed a security agreement as part of China’s strategy to increase its influence in the Indo-Pacific area.
It’s understandable that the United States and Australia, which have long considered the region to be within their sphere of influence, are worried about Beijing’s activities in the region.
Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles has stated that his country needs to arm itself with a plethora of lethal weaponry, much like a porcupine on an island, in order to fend off a hostile invasion.
The report noted that Marles would receive a comprehensive analysis of the nation’s defense forces in early February, to reshape the military to deal with modern threats.
Recently, Australia has made important announcements regarding the acquisition of cutting-edge weapons, strengthening its defense capabilities in the face of the serious threat from Beijing.
For example, Australia entered into a contract with Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KONGSBERG) to purchase many Naval Strike Missiles (NSMs) and related equipment.
KONGSBERG’s 5th Generation NSM is a highly effective, long-range, precision strike weapon that takes down heavily fortified naval targets in contested scenarios with a secondary ground attack role.
In addition, Australia announced earlier this month that it would spend up to $2 billion to improve its missile capabilities, including purchasing the famous HIMARS long-range rocket system.
The latest development comes as China rapidly increases its stockpile of marine mines, which has risen to nearly 100,000, as the country narrows its military focus on the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific.