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US conducts first Australian firing of tactical missile system

The Australian Department of Defence said the first firing of the MGM-140 ATACMS within the country – at Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre' 2023 – demonstrated logistical co-ordination between Australian and US forces to employ the missile over long distances. (Lockheed Martin Vought Systems)

The US fired an MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) for the first time in Australia as part of Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre' 2023, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said on 3 August.

According to the DoD, the Lockheed Martin ATACMS surface-to-surface missile (SSM), which has a firing range of 300 km, was launched from the Delamere Air Weapons Range located 120 km south of Katherine to the Bradshaw Field Training Area located near Timber Creek.

The DoD said, “In an Australian first, our Australian Defence Force (ADF) was able to work with our US partners to employ the ATACMS, which [was] successfully fired, and struck a long-range target.”

“This activity demonstrated complex logistical support and co-ordination between Australian and US forces to employ this system across vast distances as part of a multidomain strike capability.”

The Australian Army's 1st Brigade Commander Nick Foxall said capabilities such as the ATACMS could enhance Australia's ability to deny access to enemies as the army's focus in the north of the country shifts to littoral operations.

Australia's Defence Strategic Review (DSR), published in late April, recommended the ADF deter any adversary's attempts to project power through its northern approaches by rapid acquisition of the precision-strike missile.

“Far-reaching capabilities such as the ATACMS, able to hit a land-based target with speed and precision over long distances, will be needed to meet the challenge of denying access to such a vast region,” the DoD said.

According to Janes Weapons: Ammunition,

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