Australia said it will buy eight Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from Boeing Co. but denied the A$4 billion (US$3.6 billion) deal is aimed at countering China’s growing naval strength in the region, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. It comes as a Chinese naval flotilla passed by Australia’s northern coast for the first time last month as part of a three-week patrol in Southeast Asian waters that highlighted the growing reach of the People’s Liberation Army. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the high-tech aircraft being developed for the United States Navy to find and destroy submarines will boost the country’s ability to monitor its maritime approaches and patrol 2.5 million square kilometers of ocean territory. The purchases are being made in conjunction with the likely acquisition later this year of long-range Triton drones, the report said.
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