Australian SAS and 2 Commando fighting budget to be increased by billions

The ability of Australia’s special forces to rapidly and covertly deal with security threats in the Indo-Pacific will be boosted with new hi-tech equipment, including drones, weapons and communications systems, under a $3 billion, 20-year program to cement their position as the region’s most potent fighting force, Ben Packham reports on The Australian.

Australian SAS and 2 Commando fighting budget to be increased by billions
Special Operations Task Groups Long Range Patrol Vehicles drive in convoy across one of Afghanistan's desert, or 'dasht' regions (Picture source: Leading Seaman Paul Berry, 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit, Australian Defence Force)

The Morrison government has approved the first stage of Project Greyfin, green-lighting $500 million in new spending over the next four years to ensure the elite combat units continue to have access to the best intelligence, science and technology. The project will over time lift the operational capabilities of Australian special forces towards those of the US Navy SEALs and Delta Force, which can be ­deployed anywhere in the world within 24 hours to complete sensitive, high-stakes missions, and be returned safely home again.

Scott Morrison, who will ­officially announce the new ­investment today, said ensuring the Special Air Services and 2nd Commando regiments had access to leading-edge technology would enable them to better ­respond to threats, including terrorism.

The investment comes amid growing tensions in the Indo-­Pacific, with Australia and the US calling out China last week over “coercive” conduct in the South China Sea, including the militarisation of disputed ­islands and “disruptive activities” targeting oil and gas projects, and international fishing. Alarm bells have also been sounded over the development of a possible Chinese base in Cambodia, while in Australia’s ­immediate region, the upcoming Bougainville independence referendum will also be closely watched as a potential flashpoint.

Project Greyfin includes the procurement of new combat ­systems, unmanned vehicles, body armour, weapons, diving technology and communications equipment. New parachuting systems to deploy soldiers and combat equipment, medical tech­nology, and human performance training, will also be made available to the nation’s most highly trained fighters. The new special forces helicopters will be able to be rapidly deployed in C-17 transport aircraft. They will “insert, extract and provide fire support for small teams of Special Forces undertaking tasks ranging from tactical ­observation through to counter-terrorism missions, or hostage ­recovery”.


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