03 May 2013

Australian Airpower Increase?

Will the F35 JSF make a difference to the Australian military in returning to focus on Indo-Pacific?

Australia announced a significant boost to its military air power on Friday, committing to buy up to new 100 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, as it shifts its focus back to the Indo-Pacific as China and India beef up forces.
After more than a decade of having forces first in Iraq, and then Afghanistan, Australia wants to focus on the military challenges closer to home, in line with U.S. President Barack Obama's 2011 "pivot" towards the Asia-Pacific.
In a new defense strategy, Australia reinforces that the United States remains its closest ally, but also struck a conciliatory tone towards top trading partner China, noting its rising defense capabilities are a natural outcome from its growing economy.
"The government does not approach China as an adversary. Rather, its policy is aimed at encouraging China's peaceful rise and ensuring that strategic competition in the region does not lead to conflict," the defense strategy said.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying noted Australia's assessment of China in the document "as a partner and not an opponent" and its view that the country's development was "beneficial to the region and world".

By: Brant

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