An Australian proposal to acquire a tranche of Northrop Grumman-built anti-radiation missiles has been approved by the US State Department.
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The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has confirmed a US$94 million (AU$135.7 million) foreign military sale of advanced precision strike capability to Australia has been greenlit by the US State Department.
The deal includes:
- 15 AGM-88E2 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) guidance sections;
- Up to 15 AARGM control sections;
- up to 15 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) rocket motors;
- up to 15 HARM warheads;
- up to 15 HARM control sections;
- AGM-88E2 AARGM All Up Round (AUR) tactical missiles;
- software support; and
- training equipment.
The Northrop Grumman-built anti-radiation missiles are deployed by strike fighters against modern surface-to-air threats.
The systems are designed to provide a combination of precision, survivability and lethality, reportedly capable of rapidly engaging land- and sea-based air-defence threats, as well as striking time-sensitive targets.
Specifically, the missile capability can destroy or suppress radar to deny the use of air defence systems.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific,” the DSCA noted in a statement.
“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.”
Northrop Grumman is currently developing its AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER) with the US Navy.
Earlier this year, the company test launched the missile from an F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft at the Point Mugu Sea Range off the coast of southern California.
According to the prime, the missile performed an extended range profile, engaging a land-based, emitter target located at the range on San Nicolas Island.
The second flight test aimed to verify AARGM-ER’s ability to detect, identify, locate and engage a land-based air defence radar system from an extended range.
The approval of Australia’s proposed anti-radiation missile order comes just a month after the US State Department sanctioned a request for 20 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for approximately US$385 million (AU$542 million).