Australia’s vast north is open to attack amid the most concerning security challenge the United States’ top military commander in the region has seen in recent years

Australia’s vast north is open to attack amid the most concerning security challenge the United States’ top military commander in the region has seen in recent years.

US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Aquilino recently flew over the South Sea and says China has built and militarised several artificial islands.

‘They are full-fledged offensive bases,’ he told reporters in Darwin on Wednesday.

‘Runways, hangers, barracks, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-ship missiles, jamming capability, hangers for fighter aircraft, bomber aircraft …That is fact.’

The new intelligence comes as a B-2 Stealth Bomber was pictured landing at the Amberley Air Force Base, 50km southwest of Brisbane in Queensland.  

Admiral John Aquilino will spend several days working closely with the Chief of the Australian Defence Force General on all aspects of the two nations' military collaboration (pictured, US Marines at the ADF Robertson Barracks in Darwin on Wednesday)

Admiral John Aquilino will spend several days working closely with the Chief of the Australian Defence Force General on all aspects of the two nations’ military collaboration (pictured, US Marines at the ADF Robertson Barracks in Darwin on Wednesday)

Asked about the military threat to Australia's north, including Darwin, Admiral Aquilino said, 'There is certainly a threat' (pictured, US Marines in Darwin on Wednesday)

Asked about the military threat to Australia’s north, including Darwin, Admiral Aquilino said, ‘There is certainly a threat’ (pictured, US Marines in Darwin on Wednesday)

Asked about the military threat to Australia’s north, including Darwin, Admiral Aquilino said, ‘There is certainly a threat’.

‘Today in the Indo-Pacific, it hosts the most concerning security challenge that we have faced in a number of years.’

The Admiral said he would be in Australia for several days to work closely with the Chief of the Australian Defence Force General Angus Campbell on all aspects of the two nations’ military collaboration.

‘It should be concerning to nations that are interested in changing and potentially destabilising the region,’ he said.

The Admiral leads the largest US military command with 380,000 personnel across 36 nations.

US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Aquilino recently flew over the South China Sea and says China has built and militarised several artificial islands (pictured)

US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Aquilino recently flew over the South China Sea and says China has built and militarised several artificial islands (pictured)

A B-2 Stealth Bomber was pictured landing at the Amberley Air Force Base, 50km southwest of Brisbane in Queensland on Wednesday

A B-2 Stealth Bomber was pictured landing at the Amberley Air Force Base, 50km southwest of Brisbane in Queensland on Wednesday

US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Aquilino (pictured in Darwin on Wednesday) said China has built and militarised several artificial islands in the South China Sea

US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Aquilino (pictured in Darwin on Wednesday) said China has built and militarised several artificial islands in the South China Sea

Reflecting on Australia’s recently announced space command, he said the United States would be working through AUKUS with Australia and the United Kingdom to strengthen defence capabilities in the space and cyber domains.

‘Some of the US team is coming to Australia (tomorrow) to synchronise our exercise, operations and effects,’ he said.’Critically important. We have no separation of domain between Australia and the US.’

The Admiral said the US would also increase its military collaboration with Australia and other nations to maintain stability in the region.

‘We want to be able to join together quickly and operate immediately,’ he said while inspecting a US Marine contingent based in Darwin.

The seasonal force, which also includes the US Army for the first time, is expected to grow to 2200 servicemen and women over the next few months.

The Admiral said the US would also increase its military collaboration with Australia and other nations to maintain stability in the region (pictured, US Marines in Darwin on Wednesday)

The Admiral said the US would also increase its military collaboration with Australia and other nations to maintain stability in the region (pictured, US Marines in Darwin on Wednesday)

In September, Defence Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) warned that the risk of fighting with China 'shouldn't be discounted' and was 'up to the Chinese'

In September, Defence Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) warned that the risk of fighting with China ‘shouldn’t be discounted’ and was ‘up to the Chinese’

It comes as thousands of American soldiers trained to use surface-to-air missile systems, High Mobility Artillery Rockets and unmanned aircraft are bound for Australia as tensions grow with China.

The rotational US Marine force of about 2,200 servicemen and women will be based in the Northern Territory during the upcoming dry season from September.

It is the 11th deployment to the Top End and for the first time will include 250 US Army personnel, the Australian Defence Force announced.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton in September warned conflict with China ‘shouldn’t be discounted’ and last week told the US Studies Centre Beijing may look to annex Taiwan while the world is preoccupied with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Marine Rotational Force-Darwin is a US Force Posture Initiative designed to deepen inter-operability between the Australian Defence Force and US military. Members of the seventh rotation deployed in 2018 are pictured

Marine Rotational Force-Darwin is a US Force Posture Initiative designed to deepen inter-operability between the Australian Defence Force and US military.Members of the seventh rotation deployed in 2018 are pictured

The marine deployment will complement that Enhanced Air Co-operation program between the Royal Australian Air Force and United States Air Force. 

About 1000 Marines have already landed in Darwin.

They will train with the ADF to ensure they are able to respond to crises in the region.

AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between Australia, the US and the UK in the Indo-Pacific region. The US Indo-Pacific Command is also the nation’s oldest combatant command.

Admiral Aquilino oversees all US military activities, including the army, marines, Genting Casino airforce and navy, in the Indo-Pacific, covering 14 time zones and more than 50 per cent of the world’s population. 

About 1000 Marines have already landed in Darwin. They will train with the ADF to ensure they are able to respond to crises in the region (pictured is soldiers of the US Army in Lithuania)

About 1000 Marines have already landed in Darwin. They will train with the ADF to ensure they are able to respond to crises in the region (pictured is soldiers of the US Army in Lithuania)

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news" data-version="2" id="mol-f7a41df0-aa7b-11ec-8bb1-89820f4a0047" website admiral warns Aussies under threat from Chinese artificial islands

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