US eyes Top End military build-up to combat China threat

The US wants to store munitions and defence equipment in Australia’s Top End under a bilateral force posture review to better prepare the ANZUS allies for growing strategic threats from China.

Mr Goldman said geostrategic tensions required a more “innovative defence partnership” between Australia and the US, including co-production of precision-guided weapons on Australian soil.

He said a bilateral force posture review working group, established following last year’s AUSMIN talks, had met for the first time ­earlier this month to discuss “a wide range of contingencies”.

Mr Goldman said it was too early to provide details on any new initiatives, but said pre-positioning US weapons in Australia offered strategic advantages.

Mr Goldman’s comments follow the US government’s announcement last year of a $15m contract to build an earth-covered weapons magazine and munitions conveyor at RAAF Base Tindal, south of Darwin, as well as upgraded fuel storages.

Australia risks China's wrath over US missiles plan

Australia should brace for a strong response by China after reports the Federal Government was in talks about strengthening US military capability in the Northern Territory, an expert has warned.

"Australia should expect a large amount of rhetoric from state-backed media or a foreign ministry spokesman," Dr Coyne said.

Acting US ­ambassador to Australia Mike Goldman said the closer links "just makes sense" in light of the "new geostrategic context" in the Asia Pacific region.

Australia in talks to build US ballistic missiles as Washington

Australia is in talks with Washington to build US-designed missiles on home soil and to store a stockpile of American munitions in the NT, as tensions between China and the West soar.

While nothing has been finalised, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in March the government plans to shell out $1billion to start producing hi-tech guided missiles in Australia.

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Pentagon wants a new missile defence base in the Pacific

The head of the US Navy's Indo-Pacific Command is urging Congress to build a new missile defence base in the Pacific as part of a larger strategy to counter China's military threat to the region.

The Pentagon is seeking $US77 million ($98 million) to build a permanent "land-based integrated air and missile defence system and associated weapon delivery system on Guam", as outlined in the Indo-Pacific Deterrence Act.

In addition to the defence system, which is designed to track down and destroy missiles before they do harm, the US is considering an increase to its ground-based missiles on Guam that could fire on targets over 500 kilometres away.

Almost a third of Guam's land is controlled by the US military, and Ms McManus fears its presence is destroying the island's natural environment.

Biden presidency may mean ‘harder choices’ for Australia in the defence space

The Biden Administration will likely be "focussed on national securities," meaning Australia may have to make harder choices in the defence space, according to the Lowy Institute’s Richard McGregor.

“Trump was focussed on trade,” Mr McGregor told Sky News. “The Biden Administration might be much more focussed on national securities.

“That might mean harder choices for us in the defence space.”

Mr McGregor said this may mean the US would expect Australia to look at things including “intermediate range missiles” and the possible placement of “more Marines in Darwin”

“They might like us to do greater naval exercises in the South China Sea,” he said. “I think they’re going to expect us to step up as a strong ally.”