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Big opportunities for Aust from US defence

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Max Blenkin, Defence Correspondent

US president-elect Donald Trump's commitment to boost the size of his military could bring opportunities for Australia's growing defence industry, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne says.

Mr Pyne said the US was talking about 50,000 more troops, a dozen extra marine battalions, 70 additional warships and 100 aircraft.

That represented around a half a trillion US dollar increase to their defence budget over the next decade.

"This result could bring with it remarkable opportunities for the Australian defence industry," he told the Submarine Institute of Australia conference in Canberra.

"Thanks to the foresight of the current government, Australia is well positioned to grasp those opportunities."

Australia has launched programs to build new surface ships and submarines, leveraging defence spending to boost high-tech manufacturing.

Mr Pyne said Australia had already demonstrated the ability to develop advanced technology.

He cited Canberra firm CEA which has developed world-leading radar and West Australian shipbuilder Austal which manufactured ships for the US Navy.

The Trump administration's defence expansion ambitions were spelled out by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, tipped for a senior position, possibly secretary of state.

"We (will) take our military up to 550,000 troops (instead of) going to 420,000,'' he said in Washington.

"We (will) take our navy up to 350 ships, (instead of) going to 247.

Mr Giuliani said China couldn't match a 350 ship US Navy while at 247 vessels, the US couldn't fight a war in two oceans.

Mr Pyne said Mr Trump had termed allies not pulling their weight as "strategic bludgers" but that wasn't aimed at Australia.

"We not only pull our weight in terms of our spending, we pull our weight in terms of operations and in the Middle East right now Australia's involvement is second only to the United States," he told reporters in Canberra.

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