Defence - Operations funding and enhanced force protection in Afghanistan


Budget Review 2010-11 Index

Budget 2010–11: Defence

Operations funding and enhanced force protection in Afghanistan

Laura Rayner

Middle East Area of Operations–continuation and enhancement of Australia’s military contribution

The Government will provide approximately $1125.7 million for the net additional cost of extending Operation Slipper (the ADF’s contribution to the international coalition against terrorism in Afghanistan and the wider Middle East Area of Operations, and including anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia) until 30 June 2011. Over the forward estimates this measure will provide $239.2 million funding for ‘pre-existing force protection capabilities in Afghanistan that will provide direct protection for Australian Defence Force members from small arms, improvised explosive devices and direct fire’.[1] It is also in addition to the enhanced force protection measures referred to below, and to the $48.7 million provided over two years to upgrade infrastructure at Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan which will improve protection of ADF personnel and expand facilities to support the maintenance of vehicles and equipment.[2]

Force protection measures

The Budget includes a commitment of $487.1 million for 2010–11 as part of approximately $1.1 billion over the period 2009–10 to 2012–13 for enhanced force protection measures for Australia’s deployed troops. Approximately half of the $487.1 million for 2010–11 will be funded from Defence’s existing capital investment programs, with the Government providing the additional $221.6 million.[3]

The new force protection measures include the acquisition of a Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar (C-RAM) sense and warn capability, a measure which the Government said is a direct result of the Force Protection Review commissioned by the Minister for Defence in July 2009.[4] Formerly, the acquisition of a rocket defence system was scheduled for entry into service in 2018. The sense and warn capability detects and tracks ‘rocket, artillery and mortar fire in flight … [relying] on audible and visual alarms’, giving troops some warning time of an imminent attack.[5] Defence is reported to have investigated the purchase of systems which will destroy the incoming mortars and rockets, but has found that the technology needed to shoot down incoming mortars and rockets ‘is not yet reliable or safe enough’.[6] According to a pre-Budget media report, ‘it is hoped the new suite of early warning radars, audio warning systems and command and control systems will be deployed in Afghanistan by the end of the year’.[7]

Other planned capabilities include:

  • improved protection and firepower for Protected Mobility Vehicles
  • new night-fighting equipment
  • improved body armour
  • a new weapons system for the Special Operations Task Group
  • additional military working dogs; and
  • a suite of improved intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities.[8]

[1].    Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2010–11, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2010, viewed 14 May 2010, http://www.budget.gov.au/2010-11/content/bp2/html/bp2_expense-07.htm

[2].    Ibid.

[3].    Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2010–11: budget related paper no. 1.5A 2010–11& 1.5C: Defence Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2010, p. 23, viewed 12 May 2010, http://www.defence.gov.au/budget/10-11/pbs/2010-2011_Defence_PBS_full.pdf

[4].    G Combet (Minister for Defence Material and Science), Budget 2010: Address at the Defence Budget Breakfast, Canberra, media release, 12 May 2010, viewed 14 May 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2FKOOW6%22

[5].    D Oakes and T Lester, ‘Anti-rocket system in new budget’, Age, 8 May 2010, p. 13, viewed 17 May 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F3QMW6%22

[6].    C Stewart and P Maley, ‘Diggers to get rocket warning’, Weekend Australian, 8 May 2010, p. 3, viewed 17 May 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2FAOMW6%22

[7].    Ibid.

[8].    G Combet, Budget 2010: Address at the Defence Budget Breakfast, Canberra, op. cit.


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