Government buys sea mines, ‘potentially’ locally assembled


The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has announced it will purchase new, smart sea mines, which will reinvigorate Defence’s maritime mining capability, and are deployable from submarines, ships and aircraft, according to an announcement.

Following evaluation of market options last year, Defence selected RWM Italia (pictured) to provide the capability under a multi-million-dollar contract – the government did not reveal the value of the contract or the quantity and types of sea mines to be bought.

RWM Italia S.p.A., part of German defence group Rheinmetall, manufactures countermining systems, medium- to large-calibre ammunition, and warheads in Domusnovas, Sardinia, Italy.

Chief of Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Air Marshal Leon Phillips said: “The reinvigoration of a maritime mining capability for the ADF will increase its ability to deter through denial any adversary’s attempt to project power against Australia through our northern approaches, and protect Australia’s economic connection to our region and the world.”

RWM Italia was assessed as the market leading solution, demonstrating the ability to produce the quantities of sea mines needed, and the technical capability to meet ADF strategic objectives.

According to the statement, the contract includes provision for the transfer of technology and expertise to Australia to enable local manufacturing and maintenance of the sea mines.

“This includes potentially providing electronics services and recurring maintenance, and potentially filling the sea mines with Australian-made explosives and assembling them in Australia.”

The announcement follows last week’s that the government would spend more than $1.7 billion in acquiring three types of new, long-range strike missiles and other guided weapons. These are to be imported with local manufacture for only one system to be considered as an ‘option’.

Defence Industry Minister, Pat Conroy has announced, however, that Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System missiles – or GMLRS – will be manufactured locally from 2025.

Delivery of the sea mines is expected to begin in 2023.

Air Marshal Phillips said the ADF was being provided with the capability it needs for the 21st century.

“Rapidly deployable and technologically sophisticated, smart sea mines will provide a profound step-up for the defence of Australia.

“The level of technology involved in this acquisition will take our forces to the cutting-edge of modern military hardware.

“The sea mines will be maintained in Australia and some elements may be manufactured here, potentially including the explosive fill.”

Further reading:
Australia’s $1.7bn missile investment, but no local manufacture yet
Australia will make its own missiles in 2025 – Conroy

Picture: RWM Italia

Share this Story

Stay Informed

Go to Top