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Australia to Buy Lockheed's JASSM Missile (Feb 28)

Lockheed Martin's Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile (or JASSM) has been selected as the new long range air-to-surface missile to equip the Australian Defence Force's F/A-18 Hornet fleet.

The acquisition of long range missiles does not represent a change in Australia's defence posture and capability planning. Acquiring a long range air to surface missile has been publicly listed in Defence's Capability Plan since 2001 and specific details were announced in August 2004.

The missile is planned to be operational on the aircraft by December 2009.

The introduction and fitting of the JASSM to the F/A-18 Hornet provides an important capability for Defence and forms a key part of the Government's plan to withdraw the F-111 aircraft.

The acquisition is a prudent decision to ensure Australia retains its strike capability so Australian objectives can be met whilst maintaining the safety of aircraft and crews.

Importantly, this new missile has the potential to be fitted to future platforms including the Joint Strike Fighter.

The previous concept for the project had considered equipping both the F/A-18 Hornet and AP-3C Orion aircraft with the missile. This decision will reduce overall cost and risk of the project by equipping the F/A-18 only.

The Government has committed to spending $28.5 billion on defence capability over the 10-year period to 2010. This funding builds on the 2000 White Paper commitment to increase Defence funding by 3 per cent annually until 2010/11.

New Missiles for the Australian Defence Force