US to help Australia develop guided missiles by 2025 | News


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the US will also help accelerate Australia’s access to priority munitions.

The United States will help Australia produce guided multiple-launch rocket systems by 2025, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in Brisbane.

Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken were in Queensland state on Saturday for the annual Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) dialogue with their Australian counterparts.

“We are pursuing several mutually beneficial initiatives with Australia’s defence industry, and these include a commitment to help Australia produce guided multiple-launch rocket systems … by 2025,” Austin told a press conference.

The US is also accelerating Australia’s access to priority munitions through a streamlined acquisition process, he said.

It is the first time Australia has hosted the high-level meeting since 2019 due to the COVID-19 disruption.

“We are really pleased with the steps that we are taking in respect of establishing a guided weapons and explosive ordnance enterprise in this country,” Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles said.

He expressed hope that missile manufacturing could begin in Australia in two years, as part of a collective industrial base between the two countries.

Marles said there would be an “increased tempo of visits from American nuclear-powered submarines to our waters” as part of the bilateral engagement.

Meanwhile, Austin said the plan would help the US “sharpen our technological edge and strengthen our defence industrial base”.

Australia is currently embarking on its own armed forces overhaul, pivoting towards long-range strike capabilities in an effort to keep would-be foes such as China at arm’s length.

The talks were partially overshadowed when an Australian MRH-90 Taipan military helicopter crashed in subtropical waters off the coast of Queensland late on Friday, prompting the suspension of a major military exercise between the two countries.

The four crew members remain missing and are feared dead. They had been taking part in the vast Talisman Sabre exercise, which features 30,000 military personnel from Australia, the US and several other nations.

While officials from the countries expressed concern about the incident, they insisted the drills were needed to ensure both militaries were “match fit”.

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