Strategist calls for long-range Top End missiles

Defence strategist Paul Dibb has urged the upgrade of the RAAF’s Top End “bare bases”, saying the government’s $1.1bn investment in RAAF Base Tindal is a “clear sign of the deteriorating security environment”.

Professor Dibb, who sounded the alarm over the vulnerability of Australia’s north in a landmark 1986 review, also called on the government to consider the acquisition of land-based missiles, to give the nation a credible long-range strike capability.

“We need strike, with significant range. Not short-range. The days of just sitting offshore are gone,” the Australian National University scholar and former intelligence chief said.

US Studies Centre defence analyst Brendan Thomas-Noone said USAF B-52s were likely to be “rotated through” RAAF Tindal.

“It’s about trying to present more targets for China to account for,” he said. “If you are able to land these bombers in Australia, in the Indian Ocean, in other parts of Southeast Asia, up in Alaska, that is a lot of different places that China would have to track, if there was a conflict.

The upgrade of the Tindal base will include major runway extensions, fuel stockpiles and engineering to support Australia’s new Joint Strike Fighters, US Air Force B-52 strategic bombers and RAAF KC-30 air-to-air refuellers.

More US air deployments under new alliance

Australia is open to boosting American troop rotations and increasing military plane visits as defence co-operation between the allies ramps up.

A historic pact to share nuclear-powered submarine technology - under the umbrella of a new alliance known as AUKUS - has been signed as Australian ministers held talks with counterparts in the United States.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday morning for the latest AUSMIN talks.

Mr Dutton said he aspired to increase troop rotations and other military co-operation between the two nations.

"If that includes basing and includes the storage of different ordinances, I think that is in Australia's best interests, in our national interests at this point in time."

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.