New New SingaporeAustralia has made a deal with the United States to buy more than 120 tanks and other armoured vehicles at a cost of $3.5 billion, as part of a major upgrade of the army’s fleet, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton will reportedly confirm the upgrade on Monday (10 January). The commitment to buy 75 M1A2 main battle tanks indicates the government is committed to an advanced fleet of armoured vehicles despite the focus in recent years being on other major acquisitions such as submarines, jet fighters and long-range missiles amid the rise of China, according to the newspaper report.

The tanks will replace the army’s 59 Abrams M1A1s, which were bought in 2007 but have not seen combat. Australia will also commit to 29 assault breacher vehicles, which are used to clear mines and explosives, as well as 17 joint assault bridge vehicles and an additional six armoured recovery vehicles, the report said. The purchase has ignited debate in defence circles about the utility of tanks, with some national security experts arguing that heavy armoured vehicles would not be needed in a maritime and air conflict with a major power such as China. Australia has not deployed a tank in combat since the Vietnam War.

Over the coming years, Australia will spend somewhere between $30 billion and $42 billion on armoured vehicles. This will include a fleet of infantry fighting vehicles which will likely be announced later this year at a cost of between $18 billion and $27 billion, the Morning Herald reported.

APDR Newsletter

For Editorial Inquiries Contact:
Editor Kym Bergmann at

For Advertising Inquiries Contact:
Director of Sales Graham Joss at

Previous articleBoeing team proposes defence SATCOM capability for JP9102
Next articleUK’s new defence ATM system now operational


  1. Upgrading our tank fleet is a good call.

    Extra MBT numbers with the addition of bridging and assault breacher vehicles,finally gives Army the capability to conduct heavy operations when needed.

    While some may question the viability of tanks in the future battle space, most professional army’s still see merit in investing in them, along with other heavy things that move on tracks and wheels.
    If I’m correct the upgraded Abrams will start to enter service in 2024 which is really not that far away.
    Trust the role out goes smoothly.

  2. Will the old Abrams be scrapped, or maybe relegated to a less ‘front line’ role.

    Thinking in terms of an anti-invasion role for the ADF, the possession of ALL 125 Abrams would mandate that the peace loving Chinese invaders would need to include quite a few LSTs into the fleet mix.

    A tempting target for a bunch of hypersonic anti ship missiles.

  3. Abrams is to the ADF what the Tiger 2 was to Germany in WW 2 too costly,too heavy, and totally inappropriate to Army structure

  4. Abrams is to the ADF what the Tiger 2 was to Germany in WW 2,too costly,too heavy, and totally inappropriate to Army structure and weren’t the first batch purchased in 07 supposed to” equip us into the the future “ our did we buy at bargain basement prices is this a ‘seasprite’ moment all over again ?

  5. New tanks were not identified in the 2020 Force structure Plan until 2035. The current Abrams are only 15 years old, half way through their life. Why replace them now for $3.5 billion? Because it hides the underspend on the delayed sub program? Replacing the very old APCs is the army’s priority, not the tanks.

    Why not start on the many items of support infrastructure and construction site upgrades required to build the nuclear subs we are now committed too?

    • The original notification to Congress of the sale to Australia was a “not to exceed” figure of $2.3 billion – which is still an enormous amount of money – but the Minister’s media release refers to a $3.5 billion contract. So in less than a year the Army has managed to come up with a way of spending an additional $1.2 billion on this acquisition.

      When you add $2 billion for the cancelled BMS and $5 billion on replacing perfectly good Tiger helicopters with older generation Apaches it once again looks like Defence has an absolute fire hose of cash to spray at fairly much anything they want.

  6. We need more Tanks ….. Learn from history if Rommel was allowed by Hitler to deploy his Armoured Divisions earlier on at D Day the Allied Invasion would have been pushed into the English Channel … would be complete failing of theGovernment of Australia not to increase our Tank Fleet for the protection of this country from invasion ….. The 59 Tanks we currently have is totally inadequate when you consider in the past we have always maintained a fleet of around100 Centrurions and Leopards !!!!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here