The Australian government is boosting the country’s ability to deter potential threats to national security by substantially increasing the Australian Defence Force’s guided weapons and explosive ordnance stocks.

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 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.

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 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.

The combined total investment in these new acquisitions is more than $1 billion.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles said: “In the current strategic environment, it’s important the Australian Defence Force is equipped with high-end, targeted military capabilities. The Albanese 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.”

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said: “The Albanese 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 is a major step up in capability for our Navy’s warships, while HIMARS launchers have been successfully deployed by the Ukrainian military over recent months and are a substantial new capability for the Army.”

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