The federal government has approved the accelerated acquisition of improved weapon capabilities for the Australian Defence Force at a total cost of $3.5 billion.
Minister for Defence, Peter Dutton, announced last week 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 Australian Defence Force must be able to hold potential adversary forces and infrastructure at risk from a greater distance,” Dutton said.
“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.”
Acquiring the Kongsberg NSM, to replace the Harpoon anti-ship missile in the ANZAC Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers, will significantly enhance Australia’s maritime strike capability. It will more than double the current maritime strike range of the national frigates and destroyers.
Commencing in 2024, ANZAC Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers will have the NSM capability installed.
The combination of NSM and the previously announced Tomahawk Cruise Missiles is the best mix of capability to meet Australia’s needs and is proven in service with Australia’s key alliance partner, the United States.