The Australian Department of Defence has approved the accelerated acquisition of improved weapon capabilities for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) at a total cost of $3.5 billion. Minister for Defence the Hon Peter Dutton MP today announced that Defence will accelerate the acquisition of:
The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) for the Royal Australian Air Force;
The Naval Strike Missile (NSM) for the Royal Australian Navy’s surface fleet; and
Maritime mines to secure Australia’s ports and maritime approaches.
“With Australia’s strategic environment becoming more complex and challenging, our ADF must be able to hold potential adversary forces and infrastructure at risk from a greater distance. These world-class strike weapon systems will equip our forces to better protect Australia’s maritime approaches and when necessary, contribute to Coalition operations in our region. The JASSM-ER will enable the FA-18F Super Hornet, and in future the F-35A Lightning II, to engage targets at a range of 900km,” Minister Dutton said.
The AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is a low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile developed by Lockheed Martin for the United States Armed Forces. In 2006 the Australian government announced the selection of the Lockheed Martin JASSM to equip the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18 Hornet fighters, replacing the AGM-142 Popeye stand off missile. It is a large, stealthy long-range weapon with a 450-kilogram (1,000 lb) armor piercing warhead. As of mid-2010 the JASSM is in production for Australia and will soon enter service. It completed testing and entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 2009, and has entered foreign service in Australia, Finland, and Poland as of 2014.
Acquisition of the Kongsberg NSM to replace the Harpoon anti-ship missile in the ANZAC Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers provides a significant enhancement to Australia’s maritime strike capability – more than doubling the current maritime strike range of our frigates and destroyers. Commencing in 2024, ANZAC Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers will have the NSM capability installed. The combination of NSM and previously announced Tomahawk Cruise Missiles is the best mix of capability to meet Australia’s needs and is proven in service with our key alliance partner, the United States.