Australian army to get M142 HIMARS missile launchers

As reported by Australian referring to AP, Australia announced on 5 January that it will spend more than 1 billion Australian dollars (US$700 million) on Lockheed Martin M142 HIMARS (launchers, missiles and training rockets), possibly 20 units, that would be inducted by 2026, and Kongsberg 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
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M142 HIMARS of the 3rd Bn, 12th Marines, on Okinawa, September 30, 2021 (Picture source: US DoD)

The ADF (Australian Defence Force) is technologically sophisticated but relatively small. Although the ADF's 60,330 full-time active-duty personnel and 29,560 active reservists as of June 30th 2021 make it the largest military in Oceania, it is smaller than most Asian military forces. Nonetheless, the ADF is supported by a significant budget by worldwide standards and can deploy forces in multiple locations outside Australia. At present, the Australian Defence Force's artillery operates 48 M777A2 155 mm Howitzers, 176 M252A1 81mm mortars and M224A1 60mm mortars.

As geopolitical tensions with China are rising, the addition of M142 HIMARS will certainly add a very useful artillery system whose deadly efficiency has already been widely demonstrated in Ukraine.

The M142 HIMARS (M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is a light multiple rocket launcher developed in the late 1990s for the U.S. Army and mounted on a standard 5-ton Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) truck chassis. The HIMARS carries 1 pod with either 6 GMLRS rockets or 1 ATACMS missile. HIMARS ammunition pods are interchangeable with the M270 MLRS; however, it is limited to a single pod as opposed to the standard two for the M270 and its variants.

The launcher can be transported by Airbus A400M Atlas and Lockheed C-130 Hercules. The FMTV truck that transports the HIMARS was initially produced by BAE Systems Mobility & Protection Systems (formerly Armor Holdings Aerospace and Defense Group Tactical Vehicle Systems Division), the original equipment manufacturer of the FMTV. It was produced by the Oshkosh Corporation from 2010 to 2017. Both chassis and launcher system are now produced by Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control in Camden, Arkansas.