On 20 December, the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) announced that the State Department has approved a possible sale of up to 800 Lockheed Martin AGM-114R2 Hellfire missiles to Australia, valued up to US$108 million ($A150 million).
Also included in the potential sale, which would be enacted under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mechanism, is technical assistance, publications, spare parts, repair and return functions and storage.
“The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing the Australian Army’s armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare mission capabilities,” the DSCA said in a release to announce the potential contract.
The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin and the release notes that any offset agreement will need to be conducted between the company and Defence.
The Australian Army already uses the AGM-114R missile on its Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (ARH) and the new variant is likely to become the baseline air to ground missile for the proposed Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. The AGM-114R is also employed by the RAN on its Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk Naval Combat Helicopters.
The AGM-114R2 version of the Hellfire missile weighs 108 pounds (49 kg) and incorporates a Height of Burst (HOB) sensor which improves fragmentation over the point of detonation.