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Australia to modernise RAN's guided weapons, consider OPV variant for MCM operations

Canberra announced on 25 January that it will spend AUD1 billion (USD772 million) on acquiring more advanced guided weapons to enhance the combat capabilities of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) platforms.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said in a statement that the expenditure will provide the RAN with “leading-edge long-range anti-ship missiles, extended-range surface-to-air missiles, advanced lightweight torpedoes, and maritime land strike capabilities”.

The statement was short on detail, saying only that the service plans to acquire anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles with ranges of more than 370 km, as well as maritime land-attack missiles with ranges in excess of 1,500 km.

“These new weapons will enhance the protection of our maritime resources and borders, and hold adversaries at risk at much greater distances,” said Reynolds, adding that new investments would be made across the current and future submarine and surface combatant fleets “to provide the Australian Defence Force with more options to protect Australia’s interests”.

A Department of Defence (DoD) spokesperson told Janes that the references made to required capabilities rather than specific weapons means that discussions are still under way with the United States on the solutions best meeting Australian operational requirements and supply chain involvement.

While Australia had announced in July 2020 that it would buy the Lockheed Martin AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) for initial deployment with the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters, this is separate to future investments in advanced naval strike capabilities, including long-range anti-ship and land strike weapons, said the spokesperson.

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