The federal government is to spend $1 billion on new longer-range missiles for the navy and air force, plugging a significant gap in Australia’s defence capabilities.
The purchase of Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles and a decision to invest in developing the Standard Missile surface-to-air missile increases the range of the missile arsenal to more than 370 kilometres for anti-ship missiles, and 1,500 kilometres for maritime land strike missiles.
The Harpoon cruise missile has been the core of Australia’s missile capability and has a range of less than 280 kilometres.
The purchase of the ESSM, a medium-range, surface-to-air missile developed to protect warships from anti-ship cruise missiles, also boasts significant Australian intellectual property and manufactures.
British Aerospace Australia designs and manufactures the Thrust Vector Controller which controls the supersonic missile as it leaves a ship’s Vertical Launch System.
More than 3,000 have been supplied to Australia’s allies.
BAE Systems Australia is also the design authority for Dorsal Fins and Aerodynamic Control Fins for the ERSSM, which has involved sub-contracts to other local manufactures including Australian Aerospace Composites and exports of $300 million.
Defence minister Linda Reynolds said: “The project also seeks opportunities to broaden Australia’s weapons manufacturing base, reinforcing this Government’s long-term commitment to Australian industry and delivering sovereign industrial capabilities.”
The government has now announced new long-range anti-ship missiles, extended range surface-to-air missiles, advanced light weight torpedoes, and maritime land strike capabilities.
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