Australia will invest in new long-range strike capabilities to “maintain regional security and deter or respond to aggression in the Indo-Pacific”, as part of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan.

“The challenges and changing nature in the Indo-Pacific have meant we need a new approach and one that actively seeks to deter actions that are against our interests,” the Australian Prime Minister said.

“These new capabilities will provide a strong credible deterrent in our region that will help provide the stability and security we need. We are committed to peace and stability in the region, and an open, inclusive, prosperous and sovereign Indo-Pacific.”

Australia has made the decision to acquire the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), from the United States Navy, at an estimated cost of around $800 million.

“The new missile is a significant upgrade from our current AGM-84 air-launched Harpoon anti-ship missile, which was introduced in the early 1980s, with a range of 124 kilometres. The LRASM has a range in excess of 370 kilometres. LRASM will initially be used on the F/A-18F Super Hornets and has the flexibility to be integrated onto other Defence aircraft. Training on the weapon system is set to commence in 2021.

LRASM will be another fifth-generation capability added to the Air Force inventory to protect Australia’s maritime region, including our sea lines of communication and helping ensure regional maritime security. This is the first in a long-term plan to procure advanced longer-range strike weapon systems for our combat aircraft to allow Air Force to operate at greater range and avoid increasingly sophisticated air defences.”

To enhance the strike capability of the ADF across all domains, the Government say it has also put in place plans to invest in:

— advanced naval strike capabilities, including long-range anti-ship and land strike weapons;
— the acquisition of long-range rocket artillery and missile systems to give the Army an operational strike capability; and
— the development, test and evaluation of high-speed long-range strike, including hypersonic weapons.

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Oscar Zulu

Will add a longer range maritime strike capability to complement the JASSM AGM 158A land strike cruise missile already in service with RAAF.

The LRASM is based on the JASSM which should make integration into the RAAF’s order of battle relatively easy.

The RAAF declared FOC for the JASSM in May 2014.

Sceptical Richard

Taking your defence seriously then? Well done Oz! Do you think you’ll end up putting these into the MK41 VLS on your Hunter class?


Their upcoming subs too.



And their P8s

Oscar Zulu

That’s an interesting question. The short answer is almost certainly yes for both Hobart and Hunter class. Whether it is to be VLS launched or canister launched (or both) may depend how the USN implements use across the fleet. There is a lot of deck space devoted to Harpoon canister launchers which navies will still want to utilise which is why a canister launcher is under development. A torpedo tube launched version is also mooted which would provide some interesting options for both the RAN’s Collins and Attack class boats. But it does have a competitor with the Konesberg/Raytheon Naval… Read more »


Tidy little navy you’re building down there.


Stevo H

They need it mate, China is getting a bit too big for their boots.

Sceptical Richard

Amazing! While the U.K. still faffs around wondering what it wants. And no plans for an ASuW missile to be fired from F35B. Well done & good luck Oz

Oscar Zulu

While the press release headlines are primarily focused on the LRASM procurement, the part of the announcement that is almost a footnote is also just as significant for the quantum leap it will bring to other parts of the ADF, The long range missile artillery refereed to in the release will almost certainly be the HIMARS system. The US Marines demonstrated HIMARS on Australian soil during the last Talisman Sabre exercise. By all accounts the Army were suitably impressed and the USMC left the launchers in the country for some initial training and further demonstration of the system. HIMARS could… Read more »


Himars has also demonstrated that it can be fired from a ship. The USS Anchorage LPD did a trial in the Pacific with a Himars truck chained to its helideck. I think the Australians would have taken notice of this.

I have always thought that a general purpose frigate, LPD etc should have a MRLS as a NGFS option. Especially as today it has the range and accuracy that complements a gun system. Perhaps having a shipborne MRLS also mitigate the risk from shore based anti-ship missiles?


There are only a few countries that the U.S. will never allow to go down and Oz is one of them. Too valuable as an ally, it’s location, and common heritage. If Australia is lost to a hostile country without U.S. aid then Rome will indeed fallen. Having said that, it’s all too possible for political decision making to pare down the capabilities of the U.S. military to the point that it would be difficult to successfully defend the Austal region. With that in mind I think it’s imperative that countries in the area build up their own defenses and… Read more »


Fitting missiles forward of the funnel is tight. What about the mission bay aft.

Stevo H

Well Richard……you are correct on this. We need to bin the ancient Harpoon and choose between the 2 missile systems and if it was my choice, I’d go for the NSM. “Why?” I hear you all ask…..because it’s better and would suit and meet all our requirements but I think that we will go with the LRASM because the US is our friend, apparently.

Sceptical Richard

Thanks Steve. I believe the latest version of NSM has an advanced data link and a controllable throttle. Time and direction of arrival can be coordinated in flight. That coupled to its imaging EO seeker and stealthy shape makes it similar to LRASM. It lacks the big bang and range though. Have you also looked at Gungir, the RBS15 MkIV?

Stevo H

To be honest mate, the NSM is a decent option but I fear that because it’s direct competitor (the LRASM and even the JASM actually ) is US designed and built, the Pentagon will more than likely pressurise it’s so called ‘Allies’ to buy their offering. It’s not the first time that they’ve done it and it won’t be the last either. The way I see it is that the equally good NSM project will suffer because of political pressure from Washington……and that’s a shame. It’ll be interesting to see which way my Country, Great Britain, will go. We currently… Read more »


Getting very friendly with India as well, for the obvious reason.

Mr Me

God forbid our Island nation should get the same sort of capability…

Sean Crowley

So Much for gifting the Kiwis the some F-18F’s guess were keeping them along with the Growlers , which makes those extra 24 F-35’s not necessary so why is the Government still committed to 100 F-35’s ?


Easy answer = China.

Matthew East

Not committed, Optioned up to 100. Only 72 are firm commitments. Decision on the SH is expected around late 2020’s with $4.5 – $6.6 billion budgeted though likely to be more F-35’s also included is a replacement program for the Growlers starting just before 2030 with $7.6 to $11.4 billion budgeted. This article quite literally only touches the tip of what is being put forward over the coming decade alone. Between setting up a sonar sensor net, Investing and acquiring hypersonic weapons, expanding and improving on an ISR capability that is already world class, Hell even allowed budget to… Read more »