Australia is boosting Australia’s ability to deter potential threats to national security by substantially increasing the Australian Defence Force’s guided weapons and explosive ordnance stocks. The Australian Government Department of Defence has signed a contract with Kongsberg to deliver the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), which will be employed on the Hobart Class destroyers and Anzac Class frigates, replacing the ageing Harpoon anti-ship missile on those ships from 2024. The Australian Government Department of Defence will also acquire the land-based, long-range, surface-to-surface High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which includes launchers, missiles and training rockets. The combined total investment in these new acquisitions is more than A$1.0 billion.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP said, “In the current strategic environment, it’s important the Australian Defence Force is equipped with high-end, targeted military capabilities. The Government is taking a proactive approach to keeping Australia safe – and the Naval Strike Missile and HIMARS launchers will give our Defence Force the ability to deter conflict and protect our interests.”
The Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy MP said, “The Government is getting on with delivering the Australian Defence Force the capability it needs for the 21st century. The level of technology involved in these acquisitions takes our forces to the cutting edge of modern military hardware.
The Naval Strike Missile (NSM) is an anti-ship and land-attack missile developed by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA). The original Norwegian name was Nytt sjømålsmissil (literally New sea target missile, indicating that it is the successor of the Penguin missile). The English marketing name Naval Strike Missile was adopted later. According to Kongsberg the NSM/JSM is selected by Norway, Poland, Malaysia, Germany, the United States (as RGM-184), Japan, Romania, Canada, Australia, Indonesia and Spain as of 2022. The NSM contains leading-edge technology that will provide Royal Australian Navy ships with a powerful maritime strike capability. Kongsberg Defence Australia has committed to working with Australian industry on the project, creating local jobs and building Australia’s industrial capability.
The M142 HIMARS (M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is a light multiple rocket launcher developed in the late 1990s for the United States Army and mounted on a standard United States Army Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) truck frame. The HIMARS carries one pod with either six GMLRS rockets or one ATACMS missile. It is based on the United States Army’s FMTV five-ton truck, and is capable of launching all rockets specified in the Multiple Launch Rocket System Family of Munitions (MFOM). The HIMARS system will be in use by 2026-27, providing the Australian Army with a significant capability boost. HIMARS munitions currently have a range of up to 300 kilometres, which is expected to increase with technological advances. HIMARS includes a weapon locating radar to detect and respond to land, air and maritime threats, which is being delivered by Australian company CEA.