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Australia to buy US jets, build up navy, air force

world Updated: May 02, 2009 16:23 IST

Australia plans to buy 100 state-of-the-art US jet fighters and double the size of its modest submarine fleet in a bid to keep pace with an Asian military buildup.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, announcing the plan on board the HMAS Stuart in Sydney Harbour today, said Australia's military must be prepared for any situation.

"It's important for our own capability requirements ... for the Australian Defense Force to be prepared to meet a range of contingencies arising from military and naval buildups across our region," Rudd said. "That is prudent, long-term defense planning, and we believe we've got the balance absolutely right."

The major defence update also says that global warming and shortages of fuel, food and water will likely be emerging threats to world peace as countries seek to guarantee supplies of crucial resources.

The plan says world powers will jockey for naval supremacy in the Indian Ocean as it gains importance as a seaway for oil shipped from the Middle East to Asia.

It does not single out any single country as posing a military threat to Australia, which is a close military ally of the United States.

The plan focuses on building Australian naval and air force strength to take any fight over Australia's security far offshore.