Australia’s elite SAS soldiers will be equipped with $3 billion worth of the world’s best kit, developed with scientists, intelligence organisations and tech companies over the coming years.
The federal government has approved the $500 million, four-year first stage of Project Greyfin, to buy the best possible body armour; weapons; diving, parachuting, roping and climbing systems; medical search and rescue; communications; human performance training and support for the special forces.
The project is planned to ultimately spend $3 billion over the next 20 years.
There are three special forces combat regiments, two based in NSW and one in Western Australia, along with engineers, logistics, training and parachute training units.
The government says the investment in new equipment will ensure special forces soldiers can better respond to threats around the world.
“Our special forces, now more than ever, need to be ready and able to deploy on operations anywhere in the world, at short notice, and in very uncertain conditions,” Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said on Monday.
With the first stage of funding, the SAS will work with intelligence, science and technology, and innovation organisations to assess future threats and opportunities and make sure they have the capabilities they will need in the future, the minister said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted Australia’s special forces units handle complex and highly demanding operations in very dangerous 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,” he said.
The government also anticipates the $3 billion on the table will create significant opportunities for Australian defence companies.