This move comes just three months after Australia cancelled a deal with France to purchase submarines. Instead, it plans to build nuclear-powered submarines using British and U.S technology. It angered France deeply.
Australia currently has 47 Taipan helicopters, which were built by Airbus. They were meant to last until 2037, but have been grounded numerous times. Australia will replace them with 40 Lockheed Martin-designed helicopters. The switch will cost $7 billion Australian dollars ($4.8 million).
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, stated that Australia is improving its defense capabilities and has built strong partnerships, especially with the U.S.
"The Taipans were not meeting their goals. Morrison stated that it was as simple as that. "We want to ensure that our defense forces are equipped with the best equipment possible to defend this country. The Black Hawks will do that."
Peter Dutton, Defense Minister, stated that the Black Hawks are cheaper to fly than the Taipan program. He also said that there have been nine instances when it was not suitable to fly. Dutton added that he would not allow his people to be in such a position.
He stated that the new helicopters would bring Australia’s fleet closer to the U.S. which is important considering the instability in the region.
China expressed its anger at Australia's submarine switch, and stated that it was irresponsible for the U.S. to export their nuclear technology.
Opposition politicians claimed that the Australian government has wasted billions of dollars by making poor decisions regarding many of its defense contracts.