The Australian government has spent more than $8 billion on weapons and military equipment from the US in the past four years, a report has found. More than half of the money was spent on Information Technology (IT), telecommunication, broadcasting, engineering and research contracts, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) analysis, released on Thursday, found that from 2012-13 through 2016-17, $8.01 billion were spent by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) on US Foreign Military Sales (FMS). The sales were administered by the US Department of Defence which has responsibility over the transfer of American equipment and weapons.
Andrew Davies, a defence expert from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), said the figure was not surprising considering technological advancements within the ADF. “We’ve been buying a lot of systems, from America in particular, because we’re in the middle of recapitalising the Air Force and also buying weapons that help support the operations in Iraq and Syria,” Davies said.
Although, the government has announced its intention to create a sovereign defence industry, Davies said that the defence force would continue to rely on the US for the foreseeable future.