Australia is ready to acquire greater long-range strike capability across the air, land, and maritime domains, including Tomahawk cruise missiles for Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart class destroyers, to “enhance Australia’s ability to deter and respond to potential security challenges”.
The AUKUS trilateral security agreement was announced this week, the systems and activities will include:
- Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, to be fielded on Hobart class destroyers, enabling Australia’s maritime assets to strike land targets at greater distances, with better precision.
- Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (Extended Range), to enable Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets and in future, the F-35A Lightning II, to hit targets at a range of 900km.
- Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (Extended Range) (LRASM) for the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
- Continuing collaboration with the United States to develop hypersonic missiles for air capabilities.
- Precision strike guided missiles for Australia’s land forces, capable of destroying, neutralising and supressing diverse targets from over 400km.
- Accelerating $1 billion for a sovereign guided weapons manufacturing enterprise, to enable creation of Australian weapons in country.
The management of this transition, and other capability acquisition options that will meet Australia’s strategic requirements, will be at the forefront of consultations through AUKUS over the next 18 months.
Back in March 2021, the Australian Government announced it would accelerate the creation of a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons Enterprise, boosting skilled jobs and helping secure Australia’s sovereign defense capabilities.