In a significant move towards bolstering its defense capabilities, Australia has announced a $37.4 million contract with U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin to manufacture guided missiles. The initial batch will include missiles for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), and production is set to commence next year. The contract facilitates the transfer of technical data from the United States, along with processes for engineering certification and training Australian workers.
Australia aims to acquire precision strike missiles with a range of up to 311 miles, enhancing its defensive capabilities. The High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) will be employed to launch both precision strike missiles and GMLRS missiles. The decision follows Australia’s earlier announcement in January 2023 to purchase 20 U.S.-made HIMARS systems.
The missile manufacturing initiative is a strategic move, allowing Australia to replenish its missile stocks in times of conflict. Ross Babbage, a former Australian assistant defense secretary, highlighted the scalability of production to meet demand in various scenarios. Australian-made missiles may also be offered to the U.S. military and close allies when deemed appropriate.
This development aligns with Australia’s broader defense strategy, including the procurement of U.S.-made Tomahawk and Norwegian-built naval strike missiles. Both political sides in Australia support this capability, signaling a commitment to enhancing the country’s defense infrastructure.
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