Australia to buy 20 US-made rockets to protect national interests

Australia plans to acquire a US-made missile system after the Ukrainian Defense Force praised the weapon for being effective in deterring Russian forces.

The centre-left Labor government has struck a deal to acquire 20 truck-mounted rocket systems, also known as High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), by 2026. It also signed another contract to purchase Norwegian naval missiles by 2024.

The government has not officially disclosed the cost of the package, but the deal is expected to cost taxpayers between $1 billion ($680 million) and $2 billion.

The rocket has a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles), but is expected to reach 500 kilometers or more as technology advances.

Cabinet Minister Murray Watt said the extended range of the HIMARS rocket launcher would significantly improve Australia’s capabilities. Australia’s current missile range is about 40 to 50 kilometers.

“One of the really important advantages of this is not only the mobility of these vehicles and these troops, but the range at which they can fire those missiles,” Watt told Sky News Australia.

“We want to make sure the Self-Defense Forces are best equipped to ensure the safety of the Australian public.”

Meanwhile, Peter Jennings of the Australian Strategic Police Institute (ASPI) says long-range rockets are “very portable” and may even have ranges of over 500 kilometers.

“Wherever you can fly an aircraft, you can have one of these operating very fast,” he said, reported the AAP.

“What we have seen in Ukraine is that they are incredibly accurate and can move quickly.”

Jennings also said Australia may only have 24 months to prepare for a conflict with China, with tensions projected to rise in the middle of the decade.

Lessons from the Ukrainian War

and Commentary In May 2022 Jennings said Australia “must learn defense lessons from Ukraine”.

“The message to democratic nations to counter threats from dictatorships is simple, available weapons, not the few expensive and complex ships, aircraft, and vehicles that may not survive the first hours of conflict. It’s a matter of choice,” he wrote.

“From the Ukrainian experience, we have to ask how vulnerable our ships, aircraft and military vehicles are to being destroyed in combat. of missiles and weapons.

“In a conflict, no ship deploys without the support of submarines and air support, but China has turned the South China Sea into one of the most potentially dangerous places on earth, launching air, land, surface and underwater anti-ship cruise missile.

Defense Minister Richard Marls said high-end military capabilities will enable the Australian Defense Force to deter conflict and protect national interests.

Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the new system is on the cutting edge of modern military technology.

He said ABC Long-range missiles will give Australian forces “unprecedented offensive capabilities”.

“There are Army ground-launched missiles that can reach targets up to 300 kilometers away and are part of a U.S. development program called Precision Strike Missiles that will enable the Army to hit targets at distances greater than 499 kilometers.”

AAP contributed to this report.

Nina Nguyen

Nina Nguyen is a reporter based in Sydney. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Please contact her at [email protected]