The Australian Defence Force will undertake its biggest disposal of military equipment since World War II as it replaces old items and funds new purchases.
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare yesterday said that over the next ten years the Defence Force will dispose of up to 24 ships; up to 70 combat aircraft; up to 110 other aircraft; up to 120 helicopters; up to 600 armoured vehicles; up to 12 000 other vehicles; and a variety of communications systems, weapons and explosive ordnance.
Clare said this represents 10% of the current value of the entire Australian Government’s non-financial assets and is in line with the Australian Defence Force’s aim to replace or upgrade up to 85% of its equipment over the next 15 years.
Disposing of the equipment allows the Defence Force to generate revenue to be re-invested in new military equipment for Force 2030. The government has told the Defence Force to save AU$20 billion over the next ten years, which will supposedly then be spent on an influx of new equipment, such as the Joint Strike Fighter, new amphibious ships, armoured vehicles, helicopters and trucks.
Clare pointed out that, since 1997, the British Government has generated ?650 million (about AU$1 billion) from their military equipment disposals. However, over the same period and with a similar number and type of assets, the disposal of Australian military equipment has cost around AU$20 million.
“That’s why I am reforming Australia’s system of military disposals – to reduce costs, generate potential revenue and provide opportunities for Defence industry involvement,” Clare said.
Clare noted that the first opportunity for the Australian defence industry was the release of a Request for Proposal for the disposal of up to 24 Navy ships across the coming decade, including the HMAS Manoora amphibious ship (decommissioned this year), Adelaide Class frigates and Mine Hunters.
Request for Proposals for the HMAS Manoora will close on September 15 this year while submissions for all other ships will close on October 14. This will allow companies to bid for all ships, a class of ships or a single ship. Companies will be allowed to sell the ships in within Australia or to foreign countries.
Meanwhile, a plan to dispose of up to 12 000 Army vehicles has also been approved. This includes Land Rovers, and Unimog and Mack trucks. This will likely see the sale of vehicles to companies who will repair and upgrade the vehicle and then on-sell them. The Request for Proposals for the vehicle disposals will be released next month.
“By disposing of this equipment in bulk, it will increase the amount of revenue Defence can raise and reinvest in new equipment,” Clare said. “It also provides the scale which gives real opportunities for business.
“The money raised from the sale of these vehicles will be invested in Force 2030, with one option being into simulators used for training that will reduce the wear and tear on Army vehicles.”
Although much of the equipment will be sold off, historically significant pieces of military equipment will still be made available to the Australian War Memorial, Returned and Services League of Australia, and other historical organisations for preservation.
For example, Clare has directed that a number of Army vehicles be offered exclusively to community or heritage organisations. “One of the main goals of the disposals system is the preservation of our military history,” he said. “Flexibility will be maintained in the system to make sure that happens.”