Morrison to spend $3 billion to beef-up special forces
AUSTRALIA'S elite troops will be given better body armour, new weapons and cutting-edge diving and parachuting equipment under a $3 billion boost to the special forces.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today announce the biggest ever reform to the nation's elite military units to combat terrorism and other threats.
Project GREYFIN will deliver the special forces - including the SAS unit - with the best body armour, weapons and hi-tech communications devices on the market.
Diving, parachuting, climbing, medical search and rescue and training will also be boosted under the plan.
The Prime Minister said keeping Australians safe was the government's "number one priority".
"That's why we're ensuring the men and women in our Special Forces have the equipment and training they need to succeed in their operations," Mr Morrison said.
"Australian Special Forces undertake complex, highly demanding operations in high threat environments.
"Global threats will continue to evolve. This funding will ensure our Special Forces have cutting edge capabilities to stay ahead of those who might threaten Australia's interests."
The government has already approved the first stage of the project, which includes a $500 million spend over the next four years.
The Department of Defence is currently undertaking a capability review to decide on the best hi-tech equipment and weapons to buy before the contracts go out to tender.
The boosted arsenal could include Iron Man-style body suits, which have been trialled by military leaders in the US with varying degrees of success.
The futuristic exoskeletons use artificial intelligence to give soldiers greater strength and mobility to carry bigger guns.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the nation's special forces needed to be ready to be deployed at short notice any where in the world.
"This first stage of funding enables our special forces to engage with intelligence, science and technology, and innovation organisations to ensure future threats and opportunities are assessed, to make sure we are delivering them the capability they need in the future," she said.
The plan will also provide significant opportunities for Australian defence industry companies looking to supply the state-of-the-art equipment.
The money will come out of Defence's integrated investment budget which was set aside in 2016 following the Defence White Paper, which recommended major enhancements to the special forces.
Mr Morrison will make the announcement before he heads to Tuvalu on Wednesday for the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting.
The issue of security and how to shore up the region's future will dominate the agenda.
Pacific island nations are also expected to raise climate change and pressure Australia to increase its emissions reductions targets.