Australia is reportedly planning to invest heavily in new smart sea mines to protect its waters from potential aggressors. The move comes amid concerns about China’s growing activity in the Pacific region. If the purchase goes through, it will be Australia’s largest investment in sea mines since the Vietnam War.
The defense ministry released a statement saying that the new smart sea mines will be able to differentiate between military targets and other shipping vessels. The department added that these mines will serve as a significant deterrent to potential aggressors. Sea mines are self-contained explosive devices that can be placed in key strategic chokepoints such as straits and harbors to blow up encroaching enemy naval vessels.
An Australian publication reported that the mines would cost as much as 1 billion Australian dollars, which is roughly 700 million US dollars. However, the publication added that the final costs of the mines are still confidential.
Australia has been aiming to bolster its military forces in recent years in the face of China’s rapid military expansion in the Indo-Pacific region. In the past year alone, at least two incidents of confrontations were reported between Australian and Chinese forces.
Australia is currently in negotiations with the United States and the United Kingdom to acquire a fleet of nuclear submarines by the end of 2040. This is part of a wider reaching agreement between the three countries, which aims to increase cooperation on defense and security matters.
While the purchase of smart sea mines is a significant step towards strengthening Australia’s maritime defenses, it’s not the only measure the country is taking. In addition to the mine purchase, Australia is also investing in new naval vessels, fighter jets, and other military hardware.
The move to bolster its maritime defenses comes at a time when tensions between Australia and China are high. In recent years, there have been several incidents of Chinese vessels entering Australian waters, and the two countries have also clashed over trade and human rights issues.
Despite the tensions, both countries have stated that they are committed to maintaining peaceful relations. However, with China’s growing military presence in the Pacific, it’s clear that Australia is taking steps to protect its territorial waters and secure its maritime borders.