Australia inks naval strike missile deal with Kongsberg

Australia has signed a contract with Kongsberg to deliver the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), which will be employed on the Hobart Class destroyers and Anzac Class frigates, replacing the ageing Harpoon anti-ship missile on those ships from 2024.

In 2022, the Commonwealth of Australia announced the selection of KONGSBERG’s NSM to replace the Harpoon Anti-Ship Missile capability under an accelerated acquisition under Project SEA1300.

“This is a significant milestone in the pathway to delivering a modern, effective, and survivable precision strike missile capability to the Royal Australian Navy. Executing this contract will be achieved through close collaboration between Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, Australian industry and the Commonwealth,” says Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

Australia is a key customer and KONGSBERG is committed to developing sovereign domestic capabilities in support of its systems through knowledge transfer and Australian manufacturing opportunities.

Developed in Norway, KONGSBERG’s NSM is a fifth-generation, highly capable, long-range, precision strike weapon designed to defeat heavily protected maritime targets in contested environments, with a secondary role for land attack. It is in service or has been selected by 11 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Norway.

Australian Defence Force will also acquire the land-based, long-range, surface-to-surface High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which includes launchers, missiles and training rockets.

The HIMARS system will be in use by 2026-27, providing the Australian Army with a significant capability boost.

HIMARS munitions currently have a range of up to 300 kilometres, which is expected to increase with technological advances. It includes a weapon locating radar to detect and respond to land, air and maritime threats, which is being delivered by Australian company CEA.

The combined total investment in these new acquisitions is more than $1.0 billion.

“In the current strategic environment, it’s important the Australian Defence Force is equipped with high-end, targeted military capabilities,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles said.

“The Albanese Government is taking a proactive approach to keeping Australia safe – and the Naval Strike Missile and HIMARS launchers will give our Defence Force the ability to deter conflict and protect our interests.”

“The Naval Strike Missile is a major step up in capability for our Navy’s warships, while HIMARS launchers have been successfully deployed by the Ukrainian military over recent months and are a substantial new capability for the Army,” Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy added.