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.”