The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of Javelin missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $46 million. The Government of Australia has requested to buy two hundred (200) Javelin FGM-148E missiles with U.S. Government technical assistance and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated cost is not to exceed $46 million. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is seeking to fill a short-term shortfall in its Javelin missile inventory in order to maintain the appropriate level of readiness.
This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Australia is one of U.S. 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. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. These missiles will be provided from U.S. Army stocks. Australia will not have any difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces. Australia was one of the first countries that the US government gave “unrestricted” permission for the export of the Javelin.
The FGM-148 Javelin is an American man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile fielded to replace the M47 Dragon anti-tank missile in US service. It uses automatic infrared guidance that allows the user to seek cover immediately after launch, as opposed to wire-guided systems, like the Dragon, which require the user to actively guide the weapon throughout the engagement. The Javelin’s HEAT warhead is capable of defeating modern tanks by attacking them from above where their armor is thinnest (see top-attack), and is also useful against fortifications in a direct attack flight. As of 2020, over 5,000 Javelin missiles have been fired in combat.
The system takes a top-attack flight profile against armored vehicles (attacking the top armor, which is generally thinner), but can also take a direct-attack mode for use against buildings, targets inside the minimum top-attack engagement range, and targets under obstructions. The missile also has the ability to engage helicopters in the direct attack mode. It can reach a peak altitude of 150 m (500 ft) in top-attack mode and 60 m (190 ft) in direct-fire mode. It is equipped with an imaging infrared seeker. The missile is ejected from the launcher so that it reaches a safe distance from the operator before the main rocket motors ignite – a “soft launch arrangement”.