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Australia to Modernize Military Hardware


Australia has announced plans to buy 100 state-of-the-art U.S. jet fighters and double the size of its small submarine fleet to keep pace with an Asian military buildup.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd launched the government's defense white paper for the next 20 years onboard the HMAS Stuart in Sydney Harbor Saturday.

Mr. Rudd said the government will increase annual defense spending by three percent over the next decade.

Under the plan, Australia will buy 12 submarines fitted with cruise missiles, eight warships and 100 F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter jets.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull criticized the plan, saying the government has failed to explain how it will pay for the project.

The paper predicted that China will be the strongest Asian military power and said Beijing should assure its neighbors that it is not a threat to their sovereignty.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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