Research report

Force 2030: China drives Australia toward its first strategic missile system

24 Jul 2009

Ron Huisken of the Australian National University argues that the strikingly different dimension of Australia's recent Defence White Paper, Force 2030 – “the sharply expanded submarine force and the intent to acquire Australia’s first strategic missile capability – stems from a disjointed, inconclusive but unmistakably alarmist assessment of what China is about to do to order and stability in East Asia”. Huisken notes that the missile most likely to be acquired, is today primarily used with conventional warheads, but “it began its life in the early 1980s as a strategic nuclear weapon delivery vehicle with a 200 kiloton warhead. This pedigree, and its technical performance parameters, puts it in breach of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).” It is possible, Huisken observes, that “Australia already has an understanding with the US administration regarding the acquisition of Tomahawk but this could well run into opposition in the Congress when we actually request the system.”

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