The Australian Defence Force will partner with the US on the development of that country’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) program.
Being developed by Lockheed Martin and with a designed range of between 70km and 400km, the PrSM is an advanced development of the surface-launched Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS) which it will replace in US Army service. For Australia, the PrSM would be a prime candidate for part of the Australian Army’s Project LAND 8113 long-range fires requirement.
The 2020 Defence Integrated Investment Plan says LAND 8113 will see a “long-range rocket system acquired in the mid-2020s to complement the ADF’s existing artillery capability, providing an option for long-range fire support to joint operations.”
Australia’s contribution to the PrSM’s US$907m development program is US$70m, or roughly eight per cent, and comes on the back of the signing of an MoU between the Australian Army and the US Military to develop the system.
As a partner on the program, there will not only be opportunities to help define the PrSM Increment 2 system’s requirements, but also for Australian industry to potentially participate in research and development, component manufacture, and sustainment.
“Australia’s cooperation with the PrSM compliments (sic) the US presence in the Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility; reinforces our dedication to allies in the Indo-Pacific; and sets a path forward for US Army Long Range Precision Fires in the region,” the US Army’s Defense Exports and Cooperation, Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Wilson said in a statement.
In four test firings the PrSM has been successfully flown out to a range of 400km, and there are plans to extend that to as far as 1,000km as part of the Increment 2 and follow-on development programs. There are also plans to possibly integrate the Land-Based Anti-Ship Missile (LBASM) seeker for the anti-ship mission.
The Australian Army’s Head of Land Capability MAJGEN Simon Stuart added that the PrSM will provide a long-range and deep strike capability from the land. “Increment 2 of the program, committed under the MOU, will seek to incorporate technology that allows ships and air-defence systems to be engaged.”
The PrSM is launched from the US Army’s M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HiMARS) which can currently employ two ATacMS or a six-pack of Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) rockets. HiMARS has been successfully demonstrated to the Australian Army in recent years at successive Exercise Talisman Saber live-fire events.