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Australia’s Super Hornets, like these US planes, will be used against ISIL targets. AAP/EPA/DOD/US AIR FORCE/SGT. SHAWN NICKEL

Cabinet approves Super Hornet strikes against ISIL

Cabinet has given the go-ahead for Australia’s Super Hornet fighter jets to strike ISIL targets in Iraq, as well as for its…

Defence: sub-optimal naval gazing

Rumour has it Australia is about to spend an awful lot of money buying some new submarines. This may not be the sort of thing to get the pulses of the casual reader racing, but it ought to be, not least…
An Israeli Iron Dome missile is fired to intercept a rocket from Gaza. EPA/Abir Sultan

Explainer: Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system

The breakdown of an initial ceasefire between Israeli forces and Hamas last weekend played out to a familiar soundtrack: the wail of air-raid sirens and the menacing hiss of incoming rocket fire, followed…
Prime Minister Tony Abbot in the pilot seat of an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. AAP/Alan Porritt

Take out the pilot from Australia’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Prime Minister Tony Abbott sat in the pilot seat of a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the time he announced his government will buy an additional 58 planes at a cost of at least A$12.4 billion. But imagine…
The F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. Flickr/Lockheed Martin

Australia’s jump jet strike fighter option: lessons from the UK

If Australia is serious about buying the jump jet version of the Joint Strike Fighter it would be wise to look at why the UK is the only country to change its mind on which version of the aircraft to buy…
Treasurer Joe Hockey and finance minister Mathias Cormann face a difficult sell for the Abbott government’s tough first budget. AAP/Alan Porritt

Federal budget 2014: political experts react

The Abbott government is hoping an A$11.6 billion infrastructure spending package, combined with a $20 billion medical research fund, will help soften the blow of widespread tightening of health and welfare…

The best security money can buy?

The news that Australia is about to spend $24 billion on a new generation of fighter aircraft has been greeted with remarkably little critical comment or analysis. It is hard to imagine that any other…
Defence advocates are arguing that military spending should be increased to an arbitrary target of 2% of GDP. But should it actually be cut? AAP/Department of Defence

What is the right level of defence spending for Australia?

Some aspects of foreign policy are as important to big business as the rest of the population in relation to national security. Australians generally want to avoid war, so substantial capacity for preventive…
At ease: Indian soldiers deployed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. John Giles/PA

West fears the rise of some countries more than others

When a highly populous, rapidly developing, nuclear armed, space-voyaging and increasingly assertive Asian nation announces the purchase of its third aircraft carrier, a few months after launching its…
Made in the UK: nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard and Type 45 frigate HMS Dragon. MOD/Tam McDonald

Costly to keep afloat: Britain’s waning warship industry

The controversy over the BAE Systems decision on warship building has been dominated by myth, emotion and pleading. Arguments are raging about English versus Scottish jobs, about shipbuilding as a key…
Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the arms trade. Andrew Milligan/PA

As BAE cuts jobs, is a strong defence sector really needed?

The announcement that defence company BAE Systems is to cut 1,775 jobs at its naval warship yards in Portsmouth and in Scotland will come as a huge blow to those workers, their families and their local…
What will defence policy under Tony Abbott and new defence minister David Johnston look like? AAP/Dean Lewins

Policy outlook: radical departure on defence or more of the same?

The Abbott government talks a good game on defence. While in opposition, new defence minister David Johnston slammed Labor for failing to fund the grand promises of the 2009 Defence White Paper. Now in…

FactCheck: is Defence spending down to 1938 levels?

“Currently, the share of [gross domestic product] spent on Defence – at 1.59% – has fallen to its lowest level since 1938.” Liberal Party press release, 2 September. The Coalition yesterday announced its…

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