The Australian government is calling off procuring additional Protected Mobile Fire (PMF) self-propelled howitzers in favor of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
The plan is included in Canberra’s latest Defence Strategic Review on April 24.
According to the document, the Australian Army should cancel the PMF howitzer project because it does not meet the service’s range and lethality requirements.
Australia is on track to form a second regiment of the artillery systems, with the first regiment reportedly comprising 30 platforms.
Apart from ditching the self-propelled howitzer program, the country has also reduced its Land Vehicle Combat System program from 450 vehicles to 129.
All money saved from the measures will accelerate the acquisition of more HIMARS.
Developed by Lockheed Martin, the HIMARS can support joint early and forced entry expeditionary operations at a maximum range of 300 kilometers (186 miles).
It attacks targets with low-collateral damage, enabling danger-close fires to support friendly troops.
The system carries one launch pod containing either six Guided MLRS rockets or one Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile.
It has a “shoot-and-scoot” capability, launching its weapons and moving away from the area at high speed before an enemy locates the launch site.
Australia’s latest defense strategy recommends the acquisition of more HIMARS after seeing its apparent success in neutralizing Russian military assets in Ukraine.
Biggest Defense Overhaul
Earlier this week, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the country’s biggest defense overhaul in decades.
He emphasized some defense priorities, including nuclear-powered submarines, long-range strike capabilities, and strengthening the country’s northern bases.
Albanese further noted that his government’s strategy is designed to make Canberra a more self-reliant nation prepared to address evolving threats.