In order to build and test hypersonic cruise missiles that can fly at five times the speed of sound and destroy aircraft carriers, Australia and the US are joining forces for cooperation.
The rockets, designed to be launched from fighter jets, would be able to cover the gap in seven minutes between Sydney and Melbourne.
To contribute to the project, which is expected to take between five and 10 years, local defence companies will be approached.
“Developing this game-changing capability with the United States from an early stage is providing opportunities for Australian industry,” Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said on Tuesday.
“Investing in capabilities that deter actions against Australia also benefits our region, our allies and our security partners.”
For more than 15 years, Australia has been collaborating with the US on research into hypersonic scramjets, rocket engines, sensors, and advanced production materials.
Russia launched the first nuclear-capable hypersonic missile last year while the Pentagon, which tested a similar hypersonic missile in 2017, plans to deploy hypersonic warfare capabilities in the early to mid-2020s.
According to defence experts, China has deployed, or is near to deploying, hypersonic systems armed with conventional warheads.