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Australia to buy long-range HIMARS missile system from United States – at unknown cost (? 2 $billion)

ABC, By defence correspondent Andrew Greene, 5 Jan 2023

Australia’s Army will have an unprecedented long-range strike capability with the purchase of the US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket (HIMARS) system, which Ukraine has praised for its devastating effectiveness against invading Russian forces.

Key points:

  • Defence officials say the use of HIMARS in Ukraine against Russia confirms why it’s needed 
  • Labor says the overall cost of the missiles is over one billion dollars
  • Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy says it “isn’t useful” to disclose the full cost to “potential adversaries” 

The Albanese government has finalised a deal to buy 20 of the truck-mounted rocket launchers by 2026, while signing another deal to acquire the Norwegian-made Naval Strike Missiles (NSM) for Australian warships next year.

Precise costs of the purchases are being kept secret for security reasons, but the government has confirmed to the ABC the overall figure is “between one and two billion dollars”.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said during an October visit to the United States he held “productive discussions” with the Army and Lockheed Martin on how Australia could start producing the rockets used in HIMARS.

On New Year’s Day, a Ukrainian strike using the US-donated HIMARS system killed dozens, possibly even hundreds of Russian soldiers in the Donetsk region……………………………….

Congress was first notified of a possible sale of the Lockheed Martin-produced HIMARS to Australia seven months ago, while the NSM purchase was flagged by the Morrison government in April last year………………..

Labor says the HIMARS and NSM purchases will together cost over $1 billion, but Mr Conroy says precise details are being kept deliberately hidden.

“We won’t be disclosing the total cost of the two announcements,” he told the ABC.

“The two combined costs is between one and two billion dollars, the reason that we’re not disclosing the specific amount is that gives information to potential adversaries which isn’t useful beaming out there.”

In its notice to Congress in May, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency estimated the cost of 20 HIMARS and associated munitions and equipment at US$385 million ($561 million).  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-05/australia-america-himars-missile-system/101827334

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January 6, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war

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