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Australia Prepares For World War III, Revives Air Warfare Destroyer Programme.

The Abbott government revives the $8.5 billion Air Warfare Destroyer Programme, or AWD, to enhance wartime capabilities of the Royal Australian Navy. The government had also announced a three-point plan that will create a sustainable naval shipbuilding industry that supports shipbuilding jobs, Defence said in a statement.

The government's three-point plan includes working with the industry's best to revive the AWD programme, creating a sovereign submarine industry to avoid a submarine capability gap and creating a naval shipbuilding industry around a fleet of future frigates. The three-point plan is the government's way of showing that it is willing to invest for a safer and secure Australia.

The looming World War III had been widely reported since the annexation of Crimea by Russian President Vladimir Putin In March, with the Western countries imposing sanctions thereafter. Western countries said the annexation was illegal and had since displayed their hard stance against Russia. Russia's military presence had subsequently become alarming, with NATO intercepting Russian jets in unusual frequency.

The last major progress with the AWD project was announced in February 2014. On Dec 9, the Government announced it is reviving the project with an increased involvement with BAE Systems, Navantia SA and Raytheon Australia for an interim period. Their involvement shall ensure that immediate improvements in shipbuilding performance will come to pass.

The government said that major progress of the AWD project was halted due to growing cost and schedule overruns of the past administration. By implementing recommendations by Professor Donald Winter following his independent review of the project, the Abbott government is resolving outstanding productivity issues of the past administration.

"We are committed to working collaboratively and constructively with all stakeholders to ensure we realise both the critically important national security benefits of this program as well as its long term benefits for the Australian shipbuilding industry in the most efficient and effective way possible," Defence said in a statement.

The AWD is designed to protect personnel against missiles and other attacks launched by enemy aircraft. It will be equipped with the Aegis Weapon System with AN/SPY 1D(V) radar and SM-2 missile capable of hitting enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150 kilometres. The AWD will also carry a MH-60R Seahawk Romeo naval combat helicopter for surveillance across major warfare areas. AWD will also come equipped with long-range anti-ship missiles and a naval gun capable of firing extended range munitions to protect ground personnel. AWD, with its modern sonar systems, decoys and surface-launched torpedoes, will be able to conduct undersea warfare.

AWD Alliance CEO Rod Equid welcomes the Government's announcement with confidence. He said the alliance continue to uphold its mission of delivering the next generation AWD capability to the navy in order to protect Australia.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 10, 2014
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