The US Department of State has approved a potential USD990 million Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Australia of up to 200 AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs), along with related equipment and services, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 7 February.
Also included in the proposed deal, which still needs to be approved by the US Congress, are up to 11 ATM-158C telemetry variant (inert) LRASMs, dummy air training missiles (DATM-158C LRASMs), captive air training missiles (CATM-158C LRASMs), containers, support and test equipment, publications, and technical documentation as well as personnel training, training equipment, engineering, and logistics support services.
The DSCA pointed out that the weapons will be fitted onto the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF's) fleet of F/A-18 multirole fighter aircraft - most likely the service's 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets - with the proposed sale and support expected to provide Australia with "enhanced capabilities in defence of critical sea-lanes". The move is also designed to increase the Royal Australian Navy's "maritime partnership potential and align its capabilities with existing regional baselines".
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