The RAAF is set to acquire an initial package of AGM-158B JASSM-ER low-observable stand-off cruise missiles (shown), which could include the AGM-158B-2 ‘extreme range' variant. (Lockheed Martin)
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is set to acquire an initial suite of Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) – potentially including the latest AGM-158B-2 JASSM ‘extreme range' variant – following US State Department approval of the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Australia.
According to a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification on 21 July, the estimated USD235 million FMS package includes provision for 80 JASSM-ER missiles (AGM-158B with telemetry kits and/or AGM-158B-2 configurations) along with JASSM training missiles, missile containers, and support equipment.
The JASSM-ER acquisition is part of a USD2.6 billion weapons package for the Australian Defence Force announced by Canberra in April. This package also includes the procurement of the latest Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile Block 1A variant and an undisclosed hi-tech maritime mine capability to secure Australia's sea ports and maritime approaches.
Confirmation of the JASSM-ER acquisition was announced at the creation of the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) security partnership in September 2021. RAAF Head of Air Force Capability, Air Vice-Marshal Robert Denney, told an Australian senate committee in April that JASSM-ER would be acquired in the 2024 timeframe, with initial capability on the RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole fighter in the 2027 timeframe.
The DSCA said the proposed sale will improve Australia's capability to meet current and future threats by providing advanced, long-range strike capability for RAAF air platforms “including, but not limited to, the F/A-18F Super Hornet and F-35A Lightning II”.