According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, U.S. state Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia of up to two hundred (200) AGM-158C, Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $990 million. The Government of Australia has requested to buy up to two hundred (200) AGM-158C, Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs); and up to eleven (11) ATM-158C LRASM Telemetry Variant (Inert). Also included are DATM-158C LRASM, Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM-158C LRASM), containers, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representatives technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The total estimated cost is $990 million.
Australia is one of United States most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. Australia intends to use the missiles on its F-18 aircraft and will provide enhanced capabilities in defense of critical sea-lanes. The proposed sale of the missiles and support will increase the Australian Navy’s maritime partnership potential and align its capabilities with existing regional baselines. This is Australia’s first purchase of the missiles. Australia will not have any difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin, Orlando, Florida. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to Australia involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews, support, and oversight for approximately five years. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded. DCSA’s announcement said Australia plans to use the missiles on F-18 aircraft and in support of the Australian Navy’s potential maritime partnerships. This is Australia’s first time purchasing these missiles.
The AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship missile) is a stealthy anti-ship cruise missile developed for the United States Air Force and United States Navy by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The LRASM was intended to pioneer more sophisticated autonomous targeting capabilities than the U.S. Navy’s current Harpoon anti-ship missile, which has been in service since 1977. The Navy was authorized by the Pentagon to put the LRASM into limited production as an operational weapon in February 2014 as an urgent capability stop-gap solution to address range and survivability problems with the Harpoon and to prioritize defeating enemy warships, which has been neglected since the end of the Cold War but taken on importance with the modernization of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.