• HMAS Hobart firing an SM-2 Standard Missile.
    HMAS Hobart firing an SM-2 Standard Missile. Defence

The US State Department has approved a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Australia of long lead items, engineering development activities, and other defence services to support the Australian Surface Combatant Program for an estimated cost of US $1.5 billion.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale last week.

The items and services will be used to modernise the Hobart class destroyers and to construct the Hunter class frigates. They include AEGIS weapon systems in the MK6 Mod 1 configuration and associated computer systems, MK41 Vertical Launching Systems, close-in weapons systems, GPS and digital antennas, joint tactical radio terminals, electro-optic sights for MK 34 guns, Mode 5/S identification friend or foe (IFF) systems, integration of the indigenous CEAFAR 2 Phased Array Radar (CEA Industries) with the AEGIS system and the primary radar sensor and illuminator on the Hunter class, MH-60R Romeo helicopter integration into AEGIS, and more.

In a statement, DSCA said that the sale would allow Australia to magnify the capabilities of US forces.

"By deploying a surface combatant fleet that will incorporate Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), Australia will significantly improve network-centric warfare capability for US forces operating in the region," DSCA said.

A 'significant portion' of the work will be conducted by Lockheed Martin in New Jersey.

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