BLUF

The 2021-22 Defence Budget appears to fulfil most of the commitments outlined in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update & 2020 Force Structure Plan.

Summary

The 2021–22 Australian Budget delivered by Josh Frydenberg, the treasurer, has made a significant provision of $44.6 billion to meet the 2020 defence strategic update cost. The main points relating to defence are:

  • Air force aims to double F-35A’s flying hours, with sustainment costs dropping from $49,000 per flying hour to around $18,000. 17 new aircraft to be delivered.
  • Super Hornet and Growler fleet sustainment costs grow to $76,000 per flying hour. Acquisition of the 12th aircraft being investigated.
  • Defence spending remains around 2% of GDP.
  • Operations costs are the lowest since Timor Leste due to the end of Middle East operations.
  • Naval shipbuilding allocated $2.5 billion for submarines and Hunter Class Frigates.
  • The acquisition budget grows 25%, with local industry rapidly developing defence capability and hopefully reducing supply chain risks.
  • The Portfolio Budget Statement lists the top 30 military acquisitions ( pp117).