Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy said: “This is the single largest investment in Australia’s defense capacity in living memory, if not ever.
“These investments will allow us to keep potential adversaries at bay from afar.”
The HIMARS system – manufactured by US defense giant Lockheed Martin – will be in service in Australia from 2026 to 2027.
The ground-to-ground system includes a weapons detection radar manufactured by Australian company CEA to detect and respond to land, air and sea threats.
Conroy said the government is announcing the purchases ahead of the release of a major defense strategy review in March, as long-range attack capabilities are in “huge demand” around the world.
“We had to act quickly to make sure we got the guns as soon as possible,” he said.
Conroy said the reviewers, former Secretary of Defense Stephen Smith and former ADF chief Angus Houston, had been briefed on the purchase and believed it was consistent with their reasoning.
The total cost of buying naval and land missiles is between $1 billion and $2 billion.
The government is not disclosing the total cost, lest potential adversaries know how many missiles the Australian Defense Force has.
Analysts at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said in a report last month that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has had to expand its long-range attack options because of its dramatic increase in capacity.
“The worst-case scenario for Australia’s military strategy has always been the prospect of an adversary establishing a presence in our nearby region from which to attack Australia or isolate us from our partners and allies,” wrote Marcus Hellyer and Andrew Nicholls .
“PLA attack capabilities in the archipelago to our north or the Southwest Pacific, whether on ships and submarines or land-based missiles and aircraft, would be the worst case scenario.”
In May, the US Department of State approved an Australian application for 20 HIMARS launchers, 30 multiple-launch guided missile systems, 10 Army tactical missile systems and a range of warheads, explosive and unit pods, at a total cost of US$567 million.
The United States has delivered at least 20 HIMARS systems to Ukraine, which played a key role in retaking the strategic port city of Kherson in November.
Mark Voyger, a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for European Analysis, has dubbed the system the “new god of war” for the advantage it confers on Ukrainian troops.
Ukraine used the missile system to attack the Antonivsky Bridge in August, cutting a key supply line for Russian troops stationed in Kherson.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked western nations for supplying the rocket launchers and ammunition during a visit to Kherson after Ukrainian troops retook the city.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australia-buys-20-god-of-war-missile-launchers-20230104-p5cabv.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_politics_federal Australia buys 20 God of War rocket launchers