This is the first study ever undertaken of the policies of Australian governments towards the acquisition of weapons for the armed forces. The growth of the Australian defence budget in recent years and the burgeoning cost and complexity of modern armaments have made this subject of considerable interest, not only to those who plan and carry out the policies, but to all concerned as to how a large slice of national income is being spent. The study covers the period from the early fifties to the present day, but naturally lays emphasis on the much expanded defence purchases of recent years, including the F - l l l . Future prospects are examined and, in particular, there is a discussion of the chances for success of the new philosophy of greater Australian self-sufficiency in defence materiel. The tables of expenditure collate for the first time figures derived from a variety of published sources, some rather obscure, in an attempt to present a detailed continuous picture of the shape of Australian defence spending.