Australia To Participate In US Missile Defence Program
Minister for Defence Media Mail List
Thursday, 4 December 2003
AUSTRALIA TO PARTICIPATE IN US MISSILE DEFENCE PROGRAM
The Government has decided that Australia will participate in the United States' missile defence program, Defence
Minister Robert Hill announced today.
Senator Hill said Australia was working with the US to determine the most appropriate forms of Australian participation
that will not only be in our strategic defence interests but also provide maximum opportunities for Australian industry.
These could include: * Expanded cooperation to help detect missiles at the point of launch and therefore get early
warning of an impending attack. * Acquisition of, or other cooperation in the fields of, ship-based and ground-based
sensors. * Science and technology research development, testing and evaluation. Senator Hill said the missile defence
program was a non-nuclear defensive system that did not threaten other countries. Its purpose was to be able to negate a
ballistic missile threat and therefore discourage other countries from investing in ballistic missile systems.
Defence Update 2003, released in February, foreshadowed the increasing importance of missile defence in the 21st
"The Government is concerned that Australia might one day be threatened by long range missiles with mass destruction
effect and believes that investment in defensive measures is important," Senator Hill said.
"Developing this capability will contribute to global, regional and Australia security by offering protection from
missile attack and dissuading nations from acquiring or developing such weapons.
"There will also be opportunities for Australian industry. Our decision last year to invest in the systems development
and demonstration phase of the Joint Strike Fighter program is already paying dividends, with nine contracts awarded to
Australian companies to date. There is the potential for similar benefits from our involvement in the missile defence
Australia has had a long involvement in missile defence through hosting a ballistic missile early warning ground station
for 29 years as the Joint Defence Facility Nurrungar and now as the relay ground station at Pine Gap in the Northern