• 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment's Direct Fire Support Weapons Platoon fire a Javelin weapon system.
    3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment's Direct Fire Support Weapons Platoon fire a Javelin weapon system. Defence

The State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Australia of Javelin missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $US46 million for 200 missiles, according to a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notifying Congress of this possible sale on October 30.

ADM understands that a Javelin is roughly $US100,000 per missile; what is the rest of the $US46 million sum for, I wonder?

The ADF is seeking to fill a short-term shortfall in its Javelin missile inventory in order to maintain the appropriate level of readiness, according to the DSCA statement. These missiles will be provided from US Army stocks.

Considering that the Australian Army is moving towards the Spike LR missile, at least for Land 400, this is a large order for a capability that is going to be soon competed under the dismounted capability. And Land 159’s Lethality program also encompasses elements for such a capability in the mid-2020s- Land 159 Tranche 2 includes a requirement for Medium and Long Range Direct Fire Support Weapon capabilities. Land 159 Tranche 2 is scheduled for first pass consideration in early 2022, with second pass consideration in 2025/25 financial year.

“The Javelin Missile is used by the Australian Army to defeat enemy armoured vehicles and bunkers,” according to a statement from Defence. “It is a portable system that can be carried by dismounted soldiers. This missile can only be procured from the US Government through a FMS arrangement.

“The procurement of up to 200 Javelin Missiles is a routine sustainment activity to ensure the Australian Army remains equipped to deliver the range of options required by Government until a successor capability is identified through Tranche 2 of the Land 159 Lethality Systems Project.

“The total estimated value of USD$46 million for this procurement includes up to 200 missiles, technical assistance and related elements of logistics and program support,” Defence confirmed. “Existing stockholdings of Javelin Missile are in a serviceable condition. There is no requirement for refurbishment.

“The Capability Manager has determined that the Rafael Spike LR2 best meets the needs of the Land 159 Long Range Direct Fire Support Weapon,” the statement continued. “A decision has yet to be made on the Medium Range Direct Fire Support Weapon. There is no impact stemming from this procurement on the dismounted capability under Land 159, nor any effect on Land 400 Phase 2 or Phase 3.

ADM Comment: Given that Army, and the wider ADF, is moving towards a more consolidated approach when it comes to the various natures of missiles and munitions it seems an odd buy. Then again, as ADM’s November edition points out in the View from Canberra, such munitions are spent quickly when they are needed and the supply chain to get more is far from our control.

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