The USAF has awarded a US$414.2m (A$523m) contract to Lockheed Martin for the production of 137 AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM) for an unnamed foreign military sales (FMS) customer under a sole-source acquisition contract.
A review of the US’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s website reveals Australia is the only country to have an approved FMS case for LRASM to date after its February 2020 notification of approval to buy up to 200 LRASMs and up to eleven ATM-158C LRASM Telemetry Variants. The plan to buy the weapon was confirmed in the June 2020 release of the government’s Defence Strategy Update and Force Structure Plan.
The award notice states the missiles will come from Lot 4 and Lot 5 production, and includes tooling and test equipment. The LRASM has been successfully integrated with the Rockwell B-1B and Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to date, and the US Navy plans to employ it from the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.
The Super Hornet will probably be the initial LRASM launch platform for the RAAF, although it will likely also find its way onto the P-8A, and possibly the F-35A in future.
The LRASM is based on the AGM-158A JASSM which Australia operates on its F/A-18A/B classic Hornets, and the extended range USAF-only AGM-158B JASSM-ER.