Aus-US military partnership to enhance long-range precision fire capabilities

By Melissa Coade

Wednesday August 25, 2021

Peter Dutton
Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Peter Dutton has announced a new partnership with United States Armed Forces to develop a new precision missile capability for both nations.

The all weather, precision-strike guided missile will be capable of ‘destroying, neutralising and suppressing diverse targets at ranges from 70 to over 400 kilometres’, according to the Australian defence minister.

Australia will chip in $70 million towards the Precision Strike Missile program (PrSM), and the United States will contribute $907 million.

In a statement published earlier this month, the defence minister said that the co-development partnership would ‘further interoperability and modernise both militaries’.

The program will advance the strategic objectives of both Australia and the US, he added, and meet one of the key deliverables of Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Australian Army and US military outlines that the co-development program will aim to increase ‘the lethality, range and target engagement of the baseline missile in development’.

The agreement is also hoped to provide future opportunities for Australian industry in manufacturing components, and delivering domestic maintenance and repair services. There is also potential for the co-development program to utilise domestic weapon surveillance and research.

Elizabeth Wilson , MOU signatory and deputy assistant secretary of US Army Defense Exports and Cooperation, said the program was one of the US military’s largest cooperative acquisition programs with a partner nation. 

“Australia’s cooperation with the PrSM compliments the U.S. presence in the Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility; reinforces our dedication to allies in the Indo-Pacific; and sets a path forward for U.S. Army Long Range Precision Fires in the region,” Warren said.

Head of land capability for the Australian Army, Major General Simon Stuart, said that once developed, the missile would provide long range and deep strike capability from land.

“Increment 2 of the program, committed under the MOU, will seek to incorporate technology that allows ships and air-defence systems to be engaged,” Stuart said.


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