USA, Australia discuss possibility of B-21 bomber deal

Following the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal, a senior US official reportedly said recently that the US would consider providing Australia with nuclear-capable B-21 bombers, the in-development successor to the B-2 stealth bomber that experts said on Wednesday would enable Australia to launch long-range strikes against China, thus posing serious threats to China.

US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall made the remark at a media briefing after meeting with newly minted Royal Australian Air Force chief Air Marshal Robert Chipman on August 22 in Canberra, The Strategist, a website affiliated with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, reported on Tuesday.

Kendall again hyped the "China threat" theory, claiming the US and its allies were "concerned about Chinese behavior" in the South China Sea as well as China's military modernization program.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, said if Australia obtains the B-21, the country would essentially become an overseas bomber base of the US,

Port of Darwin lease to be reviewed: Anthony Albanese

The prime minister has confirmed the 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin to Chinese-owned company Landbridge will be reviewed.

The seven-year-old lease became a flash point during the second debate of the recent federal election campaign, with Albanese criticising the former government for its handling of the matter.

“When I was a minister, we put US Marines into Darwin. When you have been a minister we have had the Port of Darwin sold to a company connected with the Chinese Communist Party,” he said at the time.

Former US president Barack Obama expressed concern about the lease at the time, while China hawks in the Defence establishment have also questioned the leasing of the Port undertaken by the former NT Liberal government.

As the world pivots, it’s time for Australia to confront the unthinkable

The nation’s pre-election preoccupations are trivial, even while huge shifts in global security demand that our leaders consider actions that have been unthinkable.

In this article, AALD alumni Peter Hartcher proposes:

  •  conscription
  •  cutting trade with China
  •  even more new USA war bases

Australia soon will be discussing with Washington the options for hosting major US combatants, including nuclear-capable planes and ships and subs, on Australian territory, in rotation or home-basing.

... but expect to be left in the lurch in the likelihood of USA abandoning democracy

USA military plans upgrades to Australian bases, greater aircraft and troop presence, as it confronts rising China

The Biden administration has released some details of its global posture review, but the Pentagon document overseen by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will remain largely classified.

"In Australia, you'll see new rotational fighter and bomber aircraft deployments, you'll see ground forces training and increased logistics cooperation," US Under Secretary of Defense Mara Karlin told reporters.

"More broadly across the Indo-Pacific, you'll see a range of infrastructure improvements in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia."

Dr Karlin added that the Indo-Pacific region was a major focus of the assessment, because of Mr Austin's emphasis on "China as the pacing challenge" for the department.

Earlier this year, the ABC revealed senior American and Australian officials had discussed options for expanded military cooperation, including a proposal to form a new joint US marines and ADF training brigade based in Darwin.

Pentagon to build up US bases in Guam and Australia to meet China challenge

The Pentagon will focus on building up bases in Guam and Australia to better prepare the US military to counter China, a senior defense official said on Monday.

To counter China, the review directs the Department to enhance "infrastructure in Guam and Australia," and to prioritize "military construction across the Pacific Islands," the official said, as well as "seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities."

"In Australia, you'll see new rotational fighter and bomber aircraft deployments, you'll see ground forces training and increased logistics cooperation, and more broadly across the Indo-Pacific, you'll see a range of infrastructure improvements, in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia," Karlin said during the briefing.

The review also did not include "functional capabilities" like nuclear, space and cyber, because those are being addressed in other Department specific reviews, the official said.