(Analysis) Britain and Australia Seek Defense Collaboration

Top: Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith (left) and British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond hold a press conference on January 18 in Perth, Australia during bilateral ministerial meetings on defense and foreign affairs. The two leaders agreed to explore cooperation in developing the next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship (bottom) that is being built by BAE Systems. (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Top: Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith (left) and British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond hold a press conference on January 18 in Perth, Australia during bilateral ministerial meetings on defense and foreign affairs. The two leaders agreed to explore cooperation in developing the next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship (bottom) that is being built by BAE Systems. (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Summary

The decision by the UK and Australia to strengthen military ties and explore collaboration on weapon systems is a pragmatic response to fiscal and strategic challenges that impact the two allies in different ways. While the UK faces defense budget reductions, Australia is expanding its navy to answer China’s buildup. A significant element of the agreement is collaboration on the next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship (T26 GCS).

In addition to the joint naval procurement and possible burden sharing agreement, Australian and UK officials also agreed to focus cooperation on a myriad of security related elements including cyber security and technology. The move underscored the need to make the enduring bilateral alliance more relevant to today’s world, as China and India expand military capabilities in Asia. The focus is to jointly modernize while achieving national security economies of scale.

To read the full analysis, please visit LIGNET.

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