The Australian Government has announced the purchase of 20 Lockheed Martin High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), and associated hardware, for an estimated cost of US$385 million (A$558 million).
Defence announced the acquisition of the land-based, long-range, surface-to-surface High Mobility Artillery Rocket System on 5 January, which includes launchers, missiles and training rockets.
HIMARS are a highly mobile, combat-proven system that fires precision munitions ranging from 70 to 300 kilometres. Transportable by C-130 and C-17 aircraft, it is rapidly deployable and interoperable with partner nations.
“Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions for more than 40 years. The Lockheed Martin developed HIMARS will provide Defence with unmatched mobile land-based firepower," Warren McDonald, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand said.
“HIMARS employs a ‘shoot and scoot’ capability which enhances crew and platform survivability in high threat environments," James Heading, Director of Programs, Strategic Capabilities Office at Lockheed Martin Australia’s Missiles and Fire Control added. "HIMARS can emplace, fire and relocate, and conduct reload in a matter of minutes, dramatically reducing an adversary’s ability to locate and target HIMARS.
“HIMARS enables a generational leap in capability for Australia, taking Defence from cannon artillery to Long-Range Precision Fires that provide a 24/7 persistent, all-weather capability.
"HIMARS offers the Australian Defence Force the ability to use and share common munitions and to integrate into a coalition effort.”
Lockheed Martin Australia says it is now looking at options to provide ongoing support, maintenance and sustainment of the HIMARS and related equipment in Australia.
“Providing Defence with technical and logistical support, and sustainment services, offers opportunities for Australian small to medium enterprises and provides local employment opportunities and benefits to the economy.” Heading said.
The first deliveries of the HIMARS are expected by 2025, and will be in use by 2026-27.
On the same date, Defence announced that it has also signed a contract with Kongsberg to deliver the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), which will be employed on the Hobart Class destroyers and Anzac Class frigates, replacing the ageing Harpoon anti-ship missile on those ships from 2024.
The combined total investment in these new acquisitions is more than $1.0 billion.
“In the current strategic environment, it’s important the Australian Defence Force is equipped with high-end, targeted military capabilities," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles said.
“The Government is taking a proactive approach to keeping Australia safe – and the Naval Strike Missile and HIMARS launchers will give our Defence Force the ability to deter conflict and protect our interests.”
“The Government is getting on with delivering the Australian Defence Force the capability it needs for the 21st century," Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy added. "The level of technology involved in these acquisitions takes our forces to the cutting edge of modern military hardware.
“The Naval Strike Missile is a major step up in capability for our Navy’s warships, while HIMARS launchers have been successfully deployed by the Ukrainian military over recent months and are a substantial new capability for the Army.”