Australia Will Build Its Biggest Navy Since World War II

    Australia Will Build Its Biggest Navy Since World War II
    Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Australia has announced plans to spend over $35B over the next decade to build what will be its largest navy since World War II. This comes after an independent review found that the country currently maintains the oldest fleet in Australian history.

    • The Royal Australian Navy plans to double its fleet size. It will then have six Hunter class frigates, 11 general-purpose frigates, three air warfare destroyers, and six warships that don't require human manpower.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Australia undoubtedly has a major naval problem to solve. From worn-out vessels and spiraling costs of delayed projects to a shortage of manpower, the country must solve a host of issues to be ready for future conflicts. Its mega plan is a step in the right direction, but given chronic personnel shortfalls, there's no certainty that Australia's naval revolution will be a success.

    Narrative B

    Australia's naval shakeup announcement comes shortly after a defense review last year pointed to a gaping hole in its strategic capabilities. To that extent, the "Australianization" of its capabilities and the expansion of its ship-building muscle is a welcome step by Canberra. It will accelerate Australia's move towards becoming a world-class naval power in the Indo-Pacific, giving its allies more confidence in its capabilities in a dramatically evolving strategic theater.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that Australia will commission its first nuclear-powered submarine by May 2038, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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