Lockheed Martin has proposed mounting the AGM-184C Long Range Anti Ship Missile Surface Launched (LRASM-SL) on the HIMARS for the Australian Army, Naval News reported.
The Australian government has ordered 20 HIMARS launchers and munitions from the US for an estimated $385 million.
LRASM for Australian Air and Naval Platforms
Lockheed is also pitching the LRASM-SL to equip the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac, Hobart, and future Hunter-class surface ships under Project SEA 1300.
Moreover, the Royal Australian Air Force is arming its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jets with the air-launch version of the LRASM to take on high-value maritime targets. The US approved the sale of 200 LRASMs to Australia in 2020.
Touting the missile’s advantages, senior Manager of Navy Strategy & Surface Programs at Lockheed Martin Dominic DeScisciolo told Naval News that the LRASM-SL can be used interchangeably for the army and naval platforms.
“I think the attractive features of the surface launch and ground-launched missiles are that they’re identical missile stacks. In other words, the missiles [with the Mk114 Boosters] are interchangeable between the Army and Navy.”
Upgrade on Harpoon
The LRASM is based on the Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, intended to provide an immediate upgrade on the Harpoon anti-ship missile to counter emerging threats from the Chinese navy.
The Harpoon’s long-term replacement and LRASM successor, the Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare/Increment 2 anti-ship missile, is expected to achieve operational capability from 2028-30.
Jointly developed by the US Defense Advanced Projects Agency, US Navy, and US Air Force, the high subsonic LRASM has a range of 300 nautical miles (560 kilometers/350 miles), four times that of the Harpoon.
The missile can be guided towards a target from a launch ship 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers/230 miles) away. Alternatively, it can use onboard sensors to locate targets.
The missile flies at medium altitude initially and drops lower as it approaches a target to evade shipboard anti-missile defenses, according to Military Aerospace.