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US greenlights proposed HIMARS rocket launcher sale to Australia

US greenlights proposed HIMARS rocket launcher sale to Australia

The State Department has rubber-stamped the proposed sale of half-a-billion-dollars in rocket launch capability to Australia.

The State Department has rubber-stamped the proposed sale of half-a-billion-dollars in rocket launch capability to Australia.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has announced the approval of Australia’s proposed request to purchase 20 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for approximately US$385 million (AU$542 million).

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale to the government of Australia of HIMARS launchers and related equipment for an estimated cost of $385 million.  

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Also included in the proposed deal are:

  • 30 M30A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS);
  • 30 Alternative Warhead (AW) pods with Insensitive Munitions Propulsion Systems (IMPS);
  • 30 M31A2 GMLRS Unitary (GMLRS-U) high explosive pods with IMPS;
  • 30 XM403 Extended Range (ER)-GMLRS AW pods;
  • 30 EM404 ER GMLRS unitary pods; and
  • 10 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).  

The Lockheed Martin-built system is billed as a technically advanced, affordable and sustainable artillery solution, designed to offer multiple launch rocket system firepower on a wheeled chassis.

HIMARS can carry a single six-pack of GMLRS rockets or one TACMS missile aboard a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) five-tonne truck and can launch the entire MLRS family of munitions. 

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States,” the DSCA noted in a statement.

“Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region.  

“It is vital to the US national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability.”  

Two US government and five US contractor representatives are expected to support the Australian Defence Force’s integration of the capability.

This is the latest of a number of proposed foreign military sales approved by the United States this year.

In April, the Commonwealth government secured approval for its proposed acquisition of 106 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) terminals for approximately US$42 million ($56 million).

Earlier in the year, the US also greenlit a US$122 million ($168.7 million) purchase request for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) and related equipment.

[Related: Defence secures approval for proposed tactical comms system order]

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