The Australian Defence Force is prepared to spend more than half a billion dollars to arm Royal Australian Air Force aircraft with US anti-ship missiles. Information about this emerged in April, and now we have more details.
The procurement project is called AIR 3023 Phase 1. It aims to acquire weapons capable of striking targets at sea. The Australian Defence Force has allocated funds to purchase Joint Strike Missile (JSM) and AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) anti-ship missiles.
By the end of this year Australia will have spent AU$333 ($227 million) on the weapons. Funding over five years will be AU$751 ($512 million). The JSM and LRASM missiles will equip P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine patrol aircraft, as well as F-35 Lightning II and F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters.
The JSM is the aviation version of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM). It weighs 416 kg and can hit ships at a range of 275 km. The LRASM has a maximum launch range of 370 km. Both missiles are subsonic, i.e. have a speed of less than 343 m/s.
JSM and LRASM will be procured through the US Military Sales Program (FMS). This is a form of assistance that is administered under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). The program is funded by the American budget and budgets of the countries which take part in it.
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