A government statement said the new aircrafts will “undertake a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.”
China’s claims over the region are challenged by several other countries, including Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
However, earlier this week China’s leader Xi Jinping said: “We cannot lose even one inch of the territory left behind by our ancestors.
“What is other people’s we do not want at all.”
The US, which Australia views as its “most important defence” ally, is adamant about the freedom of navigation in the area and often orders its warships to sail through the disputed waters.