US Navy rearms warship with missile at an Australian port for first time

The Navy recently rearmed a warship with a missile at a port in southeast Australia, a sign of its increasing logistics options Down Under.

"Our U.S.-Australia team then worked together to ensure the safe transportation to Eden, where a U.S. team from Navy Munitions Command Unit East Asia Division worked with the Royal Australian Navy to prepare it for the rearm and onload it to Rafael Peralta."

The reloaded SM-2 — an air and surface defense missile — replaced one launched July 22 during at the start of the Talisman Sabre exercise in eastern Australia

Uncertain world: $1.7bn missile boost for Australia amid concerns about China’s military build up

Australia’s navy is set to be armed more than 200 Tomahawk missiles amid concerns over China’s growing military presence in the region.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy will on Monday announce a $1.7bn investment in new, hi-tech missiles to expand the strike power of the Australian Defence Force.

The purchase comes off the back of the recommendations made in the defence strategic review to urgently beef-up the ADF’s medium-range advanced and high-speed missile defence capabilities.

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles are long-range guided missiles and have a range of up to 1500km.

Plan to bring HIMARS to NT

The Territory government has begun discussions with the Defence Department about the possible deployment of long range missiles in the Top End.

Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Darwin this week, NT Major Projects Commissioner Jason Schoolmeester said the government had begun talks with the commonwealth about potential locations for the rollout.

Announced as part of the Defence Strategic Review released in April, Canberra plans to spend $4.1bn to acquire more long-range strike systems and a missile manufacturing capacity.

Its shopping list includes $1.6bn for long-range strike capabilities including speeding-up the delivery of extra high mobility artillery rocket systems — HIMARS — and the precision strike missiles — PRISM.

It’s hoping the HIMARS, which have a range of up to 300km, will be in place by 2026-27.

Defence plans to spend $2.5bn for guided weapons and explosive ordnance enterprise as part of its proposed $19bn commitment over the next five years to meeting the review’s priorities.

Arnhem Land space centre could be used for missile testing

Two space companies have signalled the possibility of a defence force future for a remote base near the NT town of Nhulunbuy.

Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) has signed an agreement with United States rocket company Phantom Space Corporation to collaborate on missions at the Arnhem Space Centre (ASC) in the NT.

Phantom, which has confirmed it has had links to the US Department of Defense, has voiced its hopes to mass-produce rockets and fire orbital rockets from the north-east Arnhem Land site by 2025.

Mark D Lester, Phantom's chief operating officer, said that "since the US and Australia remain close allies, it is possible we will conduct defence missions" at the Arnhem Space Centre in the future.

Northern Australia poised for influx of soldiers and spending in nations new missile age

The Northern Territory is poised to play a key role in Australia's future missile defences, according to a Top End MP, as the region prepares for an influx of soldiers and defence force spending.

The presence of the US Marines in Australia's Top End is also poised to grow in the years ahead, with the review recommending an increase to the annual rotation.

The report called for greater "engagement with the US on deterrence, including through joint exercises and patrols; and strengthening Australia's sovereign military and industrial capabilities".

Dr Coyne said this could play out through the arrival in the north of more US ships and fighter jets annually.

"There's a strong possibility that we'll see more often, more frequent US Navy ship visits," he said.

"Certainly we're most likely to see a greater rotational force of US air force craft through northern Australia."

Federal government MP Luke Gosling said the country's north would be prepared to play its part. "There's no doubt that the Northern Territory and the Top End will be part of the [nation's] missile story," he said. "Why? Because we're defending Australia, and obviously, you can get more range into the northern approaches to Australia from the Top End."