SingaporeThe Australian government is investing more than $1.7 billion in some of the most powerful and technologically advanced weapons systems ever fielded by the Australian Defence Force.

Long-range strike missiles and other guided weapons are fundamental to the ADF’s ability to deploy enhanced strike capabilities and hold an adversary at risk at longer ranges. To build this critical capability, the government has decided to purchase more than 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States for the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart Class destroyers, for approximately $1.3 billion. With a range of 1,500 kilometres, the Tomahawk is a world-class long-range strike capability. Australia will be only one of three nations to have them, along with the United States and the United Kingdom.

In addition, the government has approved the acquisition of more than 60 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missiles from the United States for $431 million. These air to ground missiles are a specialised missile used to target enemy radar systems. They will be operated on the Royal Australian Air Force’s Growler and Super Hornet aircrafts and, in future, on the F-35A Lightning II fighter jets.

The Australian Army’s Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles will also be armed with Spike Long-Range 2 anti-tank guided missiles. This will provide soldiers with the capability to engage with enemy armour at a range of more than five kilometres.

Under a contract worth more than $50 million, Varley Rafael Australia is expected to deliver the first Spike missile early next year. The Varley Group will present options to government for domestic manufacturing. The Defence Strategic Review emphasised the need for Australia to be able to hold an adversary at risk further from our shores, by developing the ADF’s ability to precisely strike targets at longer range. With these new defence capabilities, the government is delivering on the Review’s recommendations, strengthening national security and responding to Australia’s strategic environment.

​Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said: “With the acquisition of these formidable long-range strike missiles the Albanese Government is acting with pace to deliver on the recommendations of the Defence Strategic Review. We are investing in the capabilities our Defence Force needs to hold our adversaries at risk further from our shores and keep Australians safe in the complex and uncertain world in which we live today. The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the importance of having not just war stocks, but a domestic missile manufacturing industry and this announcement will help deliver that.”

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said: “These advanced weapons are a clear demonstration that the Albanese Government is delivering on the recommendations made in the Defence Strategic Review. As we enter what many are calling the missile age, these will be vital tools for the Australian Defence Force to do its job of defending Australians. We are buying these weapons now to deliver capability quickly – but we are also considering options to manufacture missiles domestically because of the importance of building sovereign Australian defence manufacturing capabilities.”


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  1. The billions Australia has been handing over to the US for their defence could have housed 1000s of homeless Australians!!!

  2. A lot of talk about acquiring missiles for Defence but unless I’m mistaken only the block V is capable of hitting a moving target, all other variants are stationary targeting only. The announcement or article doesn’t seem to mention which variant Australia is buying, we can assume it’s Block V but I wouldn’t like to guess what the DoD and CASG will buy. The announcement seems to be rehashing old news about acquisitions already in the pipelines and a whole lot considering options (Public Service speak for “ We won’t be doing that”) . Unfortunately I have absolutely no faith what so ever that the Bureaucracy (or the U.S) will ever allow the GWEO or any other Australian Defence Initiatives to get of the ground.

    • I share your concerns. The Tomahawk is a re-announcement from March, though it does describe the variants: Tomahawk Block V and Block IV All Up Rounds. I’m also concerned that the fanfare about the future manufacture / assembly of GMLRS is misplaced because that is now quite old technology from 2005. Without wishing to be ungrateful, it would be nice if we were planning to produce current generation weapons.

  3. Once again an Australian government “announces” the purchase of a weapons system, this time the Tomahawk missiles. I believe this is the third time from the initial declaration that the Federal Government has proclaimed that a purchase is to occur.
    While I know in some instances, there is an element of “preaching to the converted” when it comes to criticising federal governments and their truly pathetic management of what is their most important role, the defence of the nation, we cannot allow governments a free pass when it comes to defence. I have stated previously that if you compare Poland to Australia when it comes to the acquisition of equipment and the speed in which Poland seems to be able to purchase weapon platforms compared to Australia, it is almost absurd in the manner Australia and the Defence apparatchiks acquire weapons systems. Poland has just announced the purchase of 96 Apache helicopters, it has purchased and being delivered 50 of the new Korean KA-50 light attack aircraft. It’s navy is purchasing new surface combatants and submarines, hundreds of Abrams tanks and the lists go on. Poland suffered and lost more people in WW2 (proportionally) than any other nation. It knows what it’s like to have an existential threat on it’s doorstep and like the Israelis, refuses to be a victim when it comes to military threat. And what of Australia? Aside from moving forward (hopefully) with the acquisition of nuclear subs and the announcing yet again, of acquiring Tomahawk missiles, we meander through the whole process of acquiring military deterrents like a safety meeting with the Painters and Dockers Union on whether non-union caterers can provide free meals on public holidays. We might as well just re-introduce the ‘Brisbane Line’ and hope the Americans are still up for defending the Western Pacific because from where I stand, consecutive Australian governments have a mindset of hoping any real threat to Australia will simply evaporate down a rabbit hole.

    • There are many reasons for this malaise and it’s a difficult – if not impossible – problem to fix. A big part of it at a practical level is no one is ever held to account for poor project management, including a failure to deliver. Another problem is much broader than that – namely, most people just don’t care about defence and therefore its not an electoral hot button issue. Because of a bipartisan approach by both major parties, Defence has managed to completely isolate itself from serious criticism. It’s the opposite in countries such as South Korea, Israel and Poland because they have faced existential threats many times and genuinely need to be prepared. We now have a culture of wishful thinking clutching at the US alliance and now adding AUKUS to the mix.

  4. Unfortunately Kim you are right on the money about Defence. Unless it directly impacts them, most voters see it as some obscure problem that will sort itself out. Successive Governments make a lot of noise about Defence acquisition but primarily in the context of Jobs for which ever Electorate or State they need votes in and the list of Equipment Acquisitions that are made solely for Political reasons is endless. The old adage of The U.S.A. Will come to the rescue is wearing thin, I’ve no doubt that the U.S. will honour its Treaty obligations BUT only if they can. Where are the Politicians demanding answers to the Questions that need to be asked, Why are More cost effective options with much higher Australian Content being ignored in favour of options selected for obscure reasons. The system is inherently designed to make it difficult to achieve end results, we had a saying that went “Acquisition for Defence is like, Mating Elephants , Done at a High Level, accompanied by a lot of bellowing and noise and takes two years to see a result.

  5. What’s happend to our alleged commitment to manufacture Spike missiles in Australia?
    Was it just another announcement or is it all too hard?

    • The quest for a new ATGM started in 2014; Rafael was selected in 2018 – and for the last 5 years Defence / Army have been twiddling their thumbs. Under the announced $50 million contract, Varley will “supply” Spike missiles to the ADF and will present “options” for their local manufacture. Why local manufacture has not already been locked in is totally beyond my understanding.

    • Thanks Pete! If we handed out prizes you would receive one. I shall alter my commentary to reflect the new reality that there is one known case of a submarine sinking another submarine.


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