CANBERRA, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Deployed Australian servicemen and women will be protected by an all-new, 2-billion-Australian dollar (1.55 billion U.S. dollar) air missile defence system, the nation's defence minister announced Monday.
In a statement released Monday, Defence Minister Marise Payne said the locally-developed National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) would be investigated for use in the Australian Defence Force in the next few months.
The urgency, she said, was due to the existing surface-to-air infrastructure being more than 30 years old.
"A modern and integrated ground-based air defence system is needed to protect our deployed forces from increasingly sophisticated air threats, both globally and within our region," Payne said.
"Australia's current short-range capability is 30 years old and due to be retired early next decade. The replacement system will provide improved protection for our deployed servicemen and women."
Payne said the government would approach Thales Australia to use its "Hawkei" protected mobility vehicle as a "potential platform for the system's missile launchers."
The nation's Defence Department has indicated it would complete a "detailed analysis" before handing over its recommendations to the government for final consideration in 2019.