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US, Australia to jointly produce guided weapons

The US and Australia have agreed to deepen co-operation on guided weapons including the sustainment and upgrade of the Standard Missile-2, pictured above being fired from Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Newcastle . (Australian Department of Defence )

The US and Australia have agreed to strengthen co-operation on Canberra's drive to locally develop and produce guided weapons. The agreement was announced in late July at the 33rd Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) held in Brisbane, according to a joint statement.

Under the agreement, the two countries will deepen co-operation on Australia's Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise, a project launched in 2021. The two countries said an initial GWEO focus will be collaboration on producing Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

In a press conference, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said, “We're pursuing several mutually beneficial initiatives … and these include a commitment to Australia's Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, or GMLRSs, by 2025.”

In addition, the two countries said they would reform export control regimes and facilitate the transfer of technical data to Australia to support local future production of M795 155 mm artillery shells. They will also identify opportunities for Australian industry to address constraints in the US industrial base.

The US and Australia also reaffirmed a commitment to progress the maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade of priority munitions in Australia with an initial focus on MK-48 heavyweight torpedoes and Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) guided weapon.

Australia's GWEO Enterprise is intended as a long-term initiative to develop local capability to undertake guided weapons research, development, testing, manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance.

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