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Australia to set up facility to manufacture guided missiles

Australia will move to manufacture its own missiles and guided weapons under an AUD1 billion (USD750 million) plan to establish a new weapons facility with a strategic industry partner, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 31 March.

Morrison warned in a statement that the “changing global environment” highlighted the need for Australia to proceed with the creation of a sovereign guided-weapons capability as a priority.

The Department of Defence (DoD) will now choose a strategic industry partner who would be contracted to operate the manufacturing facility. This new enterprise would support missile and guided weapons manufacturing for use across the Australian Defence Force (ADF), he said.

Newly appointed Defence Minister Peter Dutton said in the same statement that the manufacturing and supply of weapons in Australia would not only enhance the ADF’s operational capability but also ensure adequate stocks to sustain combat operations if global supply chains were disrupted.

“We will work closely with the US on this important initiative to ensure we understand how our enterprise can best support Australia’s needs and the growing needs of our most important military partner,” he added.

The minister announced separately an AUD111 million sustainment contract with Raytheon Australia to support the jointly developed Raytheon-Kongsberg National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS).

NASAMS was selected in March 2019 to replace the Australian Army’s dated RBS 70 very short-range air-defence (VSHORAD) system and provide the innermost layer of air defence for deployed forces against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and missiles.

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