Australia awards contract for GMLRS production

HIMARS

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded a contract worth A$37.4 million to Lockheed Martin Australia to produce guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) missiles in Australia, the DoD announced on 16 January.

Lockheed Martin Australia also announced separately that it will commence manufacture of GMLRS missiles at the government’s Defence Establishment Orchard Hills in western Sydney, and the first locally assembled GMLRS missiles are expected to be rolled out from 2025.

The company added that the contract will enable the production of an initial batch of GMLRS All Up Rounds (AURs) and Launch Pod Containers (LPCs) in Australia for the Australian Army’s future M142 high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS).

“This announcement delivers on the Albanese Government’s commitment to reprioritise Defence capabilities in line with the Defence Strategic Review, including developing the ADF’s ability to precisely strike targets at longer range,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy.

“This important first step towards the establishment of domestic guided weapons manufacturing in Australia will complement the acquisition of long-range precision strike capabilities and strengthen the ADF’s ability to protect Australia and its interests,” added Conroy.

In January 2023 Australia approved the procurement of 20 HIMARS systems under Project Land 8113 Phase 1, although the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) published in April 2023 recommended the acquisition of additional systems beyond those already on order. Australia has committed A$1.6 billion for Land 8113, covering the missiles, facilities, and ancillary systems.

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.

Apart from GMLRS missiles, Australia will also acquire the first batch of Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM) for its HIMARS under the latest deal, the DoD added. The country will participate in joint industrial and technological development of the PrSM Increment 2 variant that has a maximum strike range of 500 kilometres, with delivery to the ADF by the mid-2020s.

by Jr Ng