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Australia awards contract for guided missile production

The M142 HIMARS – pictured above from Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre' 2019 – is a 227 mm (six-round) MLRS. HIMARS can hit targets at a range of 70 km using GMLRS missiles. (Australian Department of Defence)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded a contract worth AUD37.4 million (USD24.9 million) to Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) to manufacture guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) missiles in Australia, the DoD said in a press release on 16 January.

Under the ‘Guided Weapons Production Capability (GWPC) Risk Reduction Activity' contract, LMA will begin manufacturing a guided weapons production capability at the Defence Establishment Orchard Hills in western Sydney, and the initial GMLRS missiles are expected to be rolled out from 2025, LMA said in a press release on 16 January.

According to LMA, the contract will enable the production of an initial batch of GMLRS All Up Rounds (AURs) and Launch Pod Containers (LPCs) in Australia for the country's M142 high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS).

In January 2023 Australia approved the procurement of 20 HIMARSs from the US under Project Land 8113 Phase 1. Australia's Defence Strategic Review (DSR) – published in April 2023 – recommended the acquisition of additional systems beyond those already on order.

The GWPC Risk Reduction Activity contract will also facilitate the transfer of technical data from the US, for which a team of LMA engineers will be sent to the US for specialised training at Lockheed Martin's guided weapons production facilities, LMA said.

A live-fire demonstration of the AURs from HIMARS will occur in Australia from 2025, LMA added.

According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence, HIMARS utilises 227 mm GMLRS missile variants such as the M30A1, M30A2; and the M31, M31A1, and M31A2.

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