In a strategic move to enhance its area denial capabilities, the Australian Ministry of Defense has made a $24.5m deal with Lockheed Martin Australia for the local manufacturing of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) munitions.
GlobalData’s “The Global Military Ammunition Market Forecast 2023–2033” report outlines that Australia is poised to spend approximately $4.1bn on ammunition procurement over the next decade, with 9.2% of this allocated to rocket ammunition.
GlobalData’s Aerospace & Defense Analyst, Harsh Deshmukh, emphasises that the strategic significance of this agreement goes beyond strengthening domestic manufacturing. The deal is expected to provide Australia with economies of scale, expediting the acquisition of GMLRS munitions and ensuring swift deployment in combat situations.
Deshmukh notes that such capabilities will enhance Australia’s position in countering potential threats, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, where tensions have escalated.
Missiles and missile defence have taken on renewed importance due to China’s aggressive posture in the Indian Ocean and its development of hypersonic weapons. Subsequently, it is expected that missiles and missile defence systems will attract significant funding over the next five years, according to GlobalData’s “Australia Defense Market 2023-2028” report.
The GMLRS munitions produced under this agreement are destined for use by the Australian Army’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), acquired in a previous $154m deal in May 2022. The collaboration with Lockheed Martin marks a step in achieving large-scale domestic production of rocket ammunition, which is critical for Australia’s defence and has broader implications for the nation’s economic and technological advancement.
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Deshmukh highlights the potential growth that fostering domestic manufacturing may bring to Australia. As geopolitical tensions persist, particularly between the US and China, Australia’s readiness becomes paramount for regional security. The ability to rapidly deploy locally produced GMLRS munitions underscores the country’s commitment to strengthening its defence capabilities in an ever-evolving geopolitical landscape.