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US, Australia to Co-Develop Upgraded Precision Strike Missile

The Australian Defence Force and the United States Armed Forces have agreed to co-develop the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) Increment 2 program.

Canberra’s contribution to the $907 million eight-year project is $70 million, Australia’s Department of Defence revealed in a statement.

The Increment 2 program will aim to increase the range and lethality of the surface-to-surface precision-strike guided missile being developed by Lockheed Martin under the PrSM program, the US government stated.

Precision Strike Missile Program

The baseline missile, being developed as a replacement for the aging Army Tactical Missile System under the PrSM program, will have a range of more than 400 kilometers (249 miles). It will be fired from “the M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).”

Elizabeth Wilson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, said: “Our cooperation with Australia on the PrSM compliments the US presence in the INDOPACOM (Indo-Pacific Command) area of responsibility, reinforces our dedication to allies in the Indo-Pacific, and sets a path forward for the US Army Long Range Precision Fires in the region.”

Major General Simon Stuart, the Australian Army’s Head of Land Capability, said that the precision strike guided missile “will seek to incorporate technology that allows ships and air-defence systems to be engaged.”

Upgrades

While the baseline missile is being developed to target “imprecisely located area and point targets,” the upgraded PrSM will have the capacity to engage “time-sensitive, moving, hardened and fleeting targets,” the US government statement revealed.

“PrSM provides field artillery units with long-range and deep-strike capability while supporting brigade, division, corps, Army, theater, joint/coalition forces and Marine Air-Ground Task Forces in full, limited or expeditionary operations.”

Lockheed Martin has conducted four flight tests of the PrSM, the latest being in May this year, and two more are slated for in 2021. The US Army plans to operationally test the missile by August 2024 and achieve Initial Operational Capability by August 2025.

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