Australia signals HIMARS interest


Australia has requested 20 Lockheed Martin M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) under the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) mechanism, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 26 May.

The agency said the 20 M142 launchers and associated weapons and equipment is worth up to US$385 million, although the sale is still contingent on US Congress approval.

In addition to the M142 launchers, the proposed deal also includes 30 M30A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS); 30 Alternative Warhead (AW) pods with Insensitive Munitions Propulsion Systems (IMPS); 30 M31A2 GMLRS Unitary high-explosive pods with IMPS; 30 XM403 Extended Range GMLRS AW pods; 30 EM404 ER GMLRS Unitary pods; and ten M57 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).

The M142 HIMARS is based on the five-tonne FMTV XM1140A1 truck chassis and can be fitted with either six 227 mm guided rocket pods or one 610 mm ATACMS pod depending on mission requirements. The type is being acquired to meet the Australian Army’s long-range fires requirement under Project Land 8113 Phase 1.

The HIMARS can engage threats at distances of over 70 km when armed with 227 mm guided rockets. The ATACMS capability extends its potential range to 300 km. The system is designed to support early and forced-entry expeditionary operations with joint high-volume destructive, suppressive, and counter-battery fires, and can be transported by medium airlifters such as the Lockheed Martin C-130 transport aircraft.

Australia and the United States are also co-developing a longer-ranged weapon for the HIMARS under the US Army’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) programme. Canberra agreed in 2021 to contribute US$54 million to help increase the lethality, range, and target engagement of the baseline PrSM.

The final specifications of the PrSM have yet to be finalised, but a prototype missile achieved a range of around 400 km at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, in May 2021.

by Jr Ng