The Australian Army is in the process of acquiring a new main battle tank (MBT). This acquisition is contrary to the policy announced in the 2000 defence white paper when the government said it had 'decided against the development of heavy armoured forces suitable for contributions to coalition forces in high intensity conflicts'.
So why buy tanks now when military interventions like those in East Timor, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands have seen only one Special Forces soldier killed? Why buy new tanks when there are calls for budget surpluses to be spent on education or health?
This Research Note seeks to determine what factors have prompted the need for Australia to replace its current tank fleet. Analysed are some of the strengths and questions arising from the decision to buy new MBTs.