Indo-Pacific: Australia supports the US to conduct hypersonic missile test

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In a show of military force across the Indo-Pacific, Australia has collaborated with the United States to conduct a missile test in Hawaii, just days after Taiwan launched air defence drills on its own coastline.

On March 28, an advanced medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from a US facility in Kauai to test the Aegis combat system, which both the Australian and US navies use to detect incoming enemy missiles.

Military officials said the successful detection and interception of the missile was the most complex test made against a priority target threat to date.

“It is a great example of our deepening defence engagement with the US and an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the Australian Defence Force’s interoperability with the US navy,” chief of joint operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said.

US Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant General Heath Collins said the intercept demonstrated the “power and flexibility” of the missile defence system’s capabilities.

“We look forward to working together with all of our allies on future collaborations to detect and maintain deterrence in the Indo-Pacific,” he said in a statement.

Thursday’s test came in the wake of Taiwan conducting a series of air defence drills on Tuesday, after a total of 13 Chinese aircraft and seven navy vessels were spotted around the island within a 24-hour period, according to the country’s defence ministry.

Speaking about balancing Australia’s own strategic interests with Beijing after it condemned China over a series of cyber-attacks earlier this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said both governments had to “co-operate where we can” and “disagree where we must.”

“We’re not going to agree on everything with China, just as we don’t agree on everything with, you know, other countries, so it doesn’t mean you don’t engage, you don’t try and find areas of co-operation, and you speak when you believe it’s necessary and in the national interest,” Senator Wong said on Sunday.

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