Australian Army plans for future high-tech combat in Asia’s mega-cities

The Australian Army has begun planning for high-tech combat in Asia’s mega-cities, including hotly contested cyber warfare, scientifically enhanced soldiers and killer robots, according to a new Defence Department study.

The Australian Army’s Directorate of Future Land Warfare has published a report that warns Australia’s future land wars will be very different from recent conflicts in the rural and remote terrain of Afghanistan and Iraq.

With the world’s population expected to reach 8 billion by 2030, the directorate sees Asia’s mega-cities as key potential future battlegrounds.

Population pressures, ethnic tensions and conflicts over food, water and resources are believed likely to create environments in which insurgencies and terrorists can freely plan and execute attacks.

Operating in high-density urban terrain “will no longer be a discretionary activity” for Australia’s small army, which will need to fight in congested areas where the enemy can easily hide and the risks of ambush and collateral damage to civilians are high.

“Despite the promise of new detection technologies … in many circumstances, forces will be deployed in situations in which adversary weapon ranges are greater than our detection capabilities,” the study observes.

Consistent with new Defence Force doctrine, the Future Land Warfare report observes that cyber warfare “can be as effective as precision-guided munitions”.

However, the study warns that Australia will face enemies with highly effective electronic warfare capabilities, and that the army may have to fight without the technological advantages it has enjoyed in recent conflicts.

“Even with US support, Australia is unlikely to be able to dominate the electronic domain in the future,” the study warns.

Full article: Australian Army plans for future high-tech combat in Asia’s mega-cities (The Sidney Morning Herald)

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