Earlier this month, Australia’s Minister of Defence, Peter Dutton had announced that Australia would partner with the US for the development of the Lockheed Martin’s Precisions Strike Missile (PrSM) in addition to Australia’s plans to establish a Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise capability for the Australian Defence Forces (ADF).
Dr Mathew George, ADS practice head at GlobalData comments: “Australia had announced its interest in the development of long-range strike capabilities to protect Australia’s sovereign interests and to help maintain regional security. Buoyed by an increasingly antagonistic relationship with China, Australia has refocused on not just the import of advanced capabilities but the development and support of local talent and organisations to support long term national interests.”
A concurrent development has seen announcements from local companies to partner with NIOA for the set up of the Australian Missile Corporation that will provide manufacturing and enabling capabilities for the missiles chosen. A recent entrant to this partnership was Austal, a step that concretises the future development area for the PrSM, where ships and air-defence systems can be engaged.
George continues: “It is not enough that one develops the missile and manufactures it, you need a platform to launch it from. We know that the PrSM can be launched from the HIMARS and the M270 MLRS, both produced by Lockheed Martin. In recent military exercises between US forces and the ADF, transportation of the HIMARS on Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) C-17A, HIRAIN and live-fire exercises were conducted, giving the ADF ample to get to know the platform, its reliability, and the possibility of its introduction into ADF service. Considering what the ADF presently has, and suggested future requirements, we can expect the HIMARS, or an updated version, to be the platform of choice for the country.”
There is still some more time before these decisions are made or when Australia is expected to receive its first PrSMs, but it the steps that Australia have taken so far shows that the government is focused on the development of advanced capabilities and believes that the country must be ready to counter adversaries at greater distances from its shores.