$3b program to transform our elite soldiers
AUSTRALIA'S elite troops will be better armed and trained to take on terrorism and other threats under a 20-year, $3 billion plan to modernise the special forces.
Project GREYFIN will be the biggest reform to Australia's special forces, including the SAS and 1st commando regiment, and deliver cutting-edge equipment to the elite soldiers.
Better weapons, body armour, parachuting and climbing systems will be provided as well as increased training in medical search and rescue, communications and response to terrorism.
The first $500 million will be rolled out over the next four years under the Morrison Government's plan.
"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 money will begin to flow immediately, but the specifics of what weapons, armour and other equipment have not been disclosed.
It is understood Defence is still undertaking a capability review as to what equipment to procure and will then take it out to tender.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the elite troops needed to be able to deploy on operations anywhere in the world at a moments notice, often in extremely dangerous and difficult conditions.
"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.
It is part of the Coalition's push to increase defence expenditure to 2 per cent of gross domestic product, as part of Australia's agreement with NATO.
Meanwhile, Mr Morrison is head to the island nation of Tuvalu on Wednesday to take part in the Pacific Island Forum meeting.
While climate change is expected to be a major topic at the meeting, maritime security and
Australia's strategic role in the Pacific will also be discussed.