The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia of up to two hundred AGM-158C, Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $990 million.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today, it reads as follows:

“The Government of Australia has requested to buy up to two hundred (200) AGM-158C, Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs); and up to eleven (11) ATM-158C LRASM Telemetry Variant (Inert). Also included are DATM-158C LRASM, Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM-158C LRASM), containers, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representatives technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The total estimated cost is $990 million.

Australia intends to use the missiles on its F-18 aircraft and will provide enhanced capabilities in defense of critical sea-lanes. The proposed sale of the missiles and support will increase the Australian Navy’s maritime partnership potential and align its capabilities with existing regional baselines. This is Australia’s first purchase of the missiles. Australia will not have any difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces.”

The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin, Orlando, Florida.

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Next step is to have these ATM-158C LRASMs certified on the P-8As as well.


US contract notice went out for that last week. End date of 2026.

Sceptical Richard

Yet again, Australian Defence ahead of the game. With a lot smaller budget than U.K. they are fielding very capable kit and doing so in a very intelligent fashion


They’re taking advantage of America’s new found love for them due to their proximity to China.

We look like the buffoons we are at this point

Geoffrey Roach

buffoons with one of the most modern armed forces in the world. We all know we would like to spend more but ridiculous? No…. I don’t think so


But we don’t have a great look Geoffrey. pis*** on the Europeans step and now doing the same with the US over Huawei, you have to wonder who we’re trying to impress.


But the Australians spend less. It’s not about how much money you have, its about what you choose to do with it…….we could buy LRASM and fit it to the P8A, Type 26 & Type 31 and F35B. One missile solving a number of problems…..simplest!!


One of the most modern yet an island nation with virtually no anti ship capability! Bar a handful of subs spread ridiculously thinly over the worlds oceans…

Buffoons is an accurate assessment.

Geoffrey Roach

so your answer to the problem is…?


the only potential surface threat in the entire Atlantic just went up in smoke, I am for an anti surface capability but its hardly a priority given the current threat assessment.

Robert blay

Only you look like the buffoon with such comments

Geoffrey Roach

If I have my figures right the Australian budget is about £20 billion, a third of ours. Putting that into context they have no deterrent ,are not nuclear, no Carriers and no SSN’s to pay for,never mind all the other elements that the UK brings to play. The air force is well equipped bur not large, the navy is small and the army is I think about 27 or so thousand. Their defence budget ( please note UK ) is set to rise significantly tin order to pay for planned expansion.

Daniele Mandelli

Well said George.


Are you getting mixed up with US dollars and pounds? I reckon taking your figure at face value the Aussie defence budget is half of ours. Whether this is good or bad I couldn’t say.

Steve R

UK defence budget is £40 billion, so the number you gave for the Aussies is half of ours, not a third.

Should be a third, and had Hunt rather than Boris become Prime Minister that’s probably what it would be.


Could not have said that better myself Steve. He would have been the better choice by far

Oscar Zulu

Actually, Australia’s defence spending is just over half of the UK’s budget ($26.7 billion USD versus 50 billion USD). Australia also outspends the UK on a per capita basis $1075 USD per citizen compared to $751 USD in the UK. Granted Australia does not have nuclear weapons but some of your size and capability comparisons are a bit off. The RAAF currently has 104 Hornets/Super Hornets/Growlers in service versus 142 Typhoons – a fleet 73% the size of the RAFs while the Growlers provide an EW capability the RAF currently lacks. The RAAF currently has 18 F35As in service out… Read more »


No question Australia buys well, but I suspect a lot of the value comes from buying other nations gear, rather than the mess we have with either trying to build locally and giving up or buying abroad and then spending a fortune refitting with UK gear or just throwing money at local companies to keep them afloat without getting value back. The t26 is a perfect example. They are taking the hull after the UK has funded the design, and then buying cheaper US missiles, combat management system etc. They will probably end up paying less my ship than we… Read more »

Oscar Zulu

Not sure that either Aegis or US missiles are ‘cheaper’ It’s almost impossible to unpack the unit costs of combat subsystems on platforms like T26 or the cost of missile buys which usually include training and support costs. What Australia doesn’t have is the development costs but on the upside it can lock into the US spiral upgrade programs. It does open Australia to vulnerability of supply chains and dependence on US suppliers, but that will always be the case for Australia for most defence purchases. Australia is still wary of non-US suppliers after the French denied Australia spare parts… Read more »


The UK already is dependent on other nations for many of the core gear from the Apache upto the f35b through the tomahawk and eurofighter and boxer/ajax. The idea that any nation out side the too few couple operate without support is very outdated.


This issue with not manufacturing locally is the cost to the nation. Defence spending is already a drain and the increasing level of defence imports is a strain on the current account. Australia has vast deposits of minerals so its not a worry but without the defence industrial base in the UK and its exports and its follow on jobs into fields like Aerospace then the UK would not and could not afford to continue with an above average defense spending. The USA is in much the same position, its the military industrial base that keeps defence spending high. Also… Read more »


The Australian ships are costing way more than ours though as are the Canadians.

Matthew East

That is difficult to work out as the accounting methods used by Australia and Canada actually differ to those used by the UK and others. Various from project to project and we are never told what accounting methods apply to any of them (Less information to an adversary the better) but in general the Australian accounting method can include full life time costs including estimated inflation along with a percentage of the budget put in to cover cost over runs (usually around 15%) and even investments and upgrades both to the infrastructure, bases and some times even future upgrades, Hell… Read more »


that’s misleading as Australia’s per capita GDP is well above the UK’s, they spend a similar % of GDP to us. High Aussie dollar means its cheap for them to buy weapons but look at the cost of T26 and new SSK’s in Australian service, Their personnel costs and staffing crisis make ours look like nothing.

Douglas Newell

Just to take one part of your argument above — the F18 A & Bs are due to be retired by 2023 as the F35 is their effective replacement, with 25 of them already sold to Canada. So its more like 50% as there aren’t 104 x F18 available. Why is there the constant need for some to beat their chests and brag about how much better lot is compared to another (the French are much the same). Most of the UK readers on this page are in agreement that you Aussies have a pretty tasty military given your means… Read more »


Australia is doing a lot of purchasing but our military is not trained or equipped for high intensity warfare like the UK is. The RAAF & RAN (Air and navy) get the lions share of attention due to our air-sea defence strategy. But when things get ground based and messy – we have about 80 legacy M1A1 Abrams, and an infantry trained primarily for counter-insurgency in accordance with Australian strategic requirements.

So in a definitive comparison – Australia has a neat support force for Coalition actions but it is not an army like the British.


They are indeed rapidly modernizing but then they don’t have a nuclear deterrent to pay for. Had Osborne kept his nose out of it and put the entire cost of the deterrent on the MOD, perhaps there would be more money for other equipment.

Steve R

Have we actually picked an interim missile yet? At this rate there will be no point as by the time we get round to choosing and ordering them, Perseus will be ready!

Or perhaps that’s HMG’s intention.


Whilst the DSCA notification specifically mentions the RAAF Super Hornet fleet as being the recipient of LRASM, it won’t stop there. The USN is now looking to integrate LRASM with their P-8A fleet, The RAAF will likely follow suit for it’s P-8A fleet too. LRASM is also capable of being launched from Strike Length Mk41 VLS and also box launched too, in the future we will probably see the RAN also operating this weapon from the Hobart class DDGs and the future Hunter class FFGs too. Apart from LRASM, we are also likely to see the Norwegian JSM integrated for… Read more »


The Japanese are also looking into fitting ASMs onto their patrol aircraft:

Joel Evans

I’m glad they’ve got it, but for my money NSM/JSM followed by Perseus is the way forward for the UK.


Agreed, but the first 50% of that way forward is the problem!

Glass Half Full

Well if Perseus (FC/ASW) is a Tomahawk/Storm Shadow/SCALP/LRASM class weapon (i.e. ~3,000 lbs mass and ~1,000 lbs warhead), then hopefully NSM/JSM wouldn’t put the French noses out of joint since its in a different class, and it wouldn’t have to just be an interim solution as it would compliment FC/ASW for land, sea and air launch. Don’t quote me but I seem to recall NSM being somewhere around the $2M price point, while LRASM is around the $5M price point based on this contract, Perseus might well be similar cost. Certainly no point having FC/ASW try to compete head on… Read more »


Yeh sorry, not disputing how much sense it would make, only the fact that for that reason it won’t get procured.


I hadn’t thought of that, but you make a very fair point! Hopefully you’re right, having both weapons would be very helpful- knocking out basic targets with FC/ASW would be a horrible waste of money…

Nigel Collins

Spot on and a very flexible asset to have as I’ve mentioned in the past on more than one occasion!


Yes, you and I are in agreement! The beauty that it can be used across a broad range of platforms is a huge bonus.


Another candidate for an interim AShM while we wait for Perseaus to become operetional in c10 yeras time.

Nigel Collins

Far cheaper than building warships.
The perfect solution to counter an ever-increasing Chinese Navy!


Can also be launched from the F35…


No it can’t.

LRASM and JASSM/ER are not cleared for F-35.

That ‘might’ happen in Block 4, but realistically isn’t happening until the late 2020’s.

Nigel Collins

Not internally, but x4 on the external hardpoints. the Joint Strike Missile can, one in each of the two bays.

Matthew East

Likely wont use LRASM on the F-35’s. Completely negates the stealth. More likely future will see F-35’s scouting out targets and Super Hornets lugging in the LRASM’s once an attack plan is made.

Mr Bell

God the Aussies at least do their defence justice. 200 missiles is more than a token gesture. Good number providing enough firepower to take on a peer or near peer adversary.
UK needs to choose weapons fit for type 26s and astute tomahawk replacement lrasm fits the bill


It fits the bill very well indeed.

Nigel Collins

What happened to Taranis???

Boeing Australia has completed assembly of the fuselage structure of the first ‘loyal wingman’ unmanned aircraft it is developing in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).


Tarranis got shelved after the failure of the Anglo French UCAV. There is now Tempest and a new low cost UCAV program kicking about.

Nigel Collins

Many thanks Martin, do you happen to know any details about the new program, is it being run by BAE?


It’s about time we had some to fill the never ending anti ship “capability gap”!!!