Australia has recently received the green light from the US State Department regarding the former’s plans to procure an additional 22 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). This procurement, estimated to cost $975 million, now awaits approval from Congress to proceed.

Once approved, this acquisition will mark a significant step in Canberra’s efforts to modernize its military and enhance its ability to address a range of security challenges effectively, particularly in the Western Pacific region.

The M142 HIMARS is a versatile and mobile rocket artillery system that provides rapid and precise long-range firepower, with an estimated maximum range of at least 500 kilometers. It can launch a variety of munitions, including the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) pods, which have different warhead options. Moreover, it offers high accuracy through GPS-guided technology, enabling it to engage targets with exceptional precision. Its mobility, rapid deployment capability, and interoperability make it an integral component of modern artillery forces, enhancing both offensive and defensive operations in various scenarios.

the revered American artillery rocket system
High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Image source: DVIDS)

The HIMARS Procurement Details

The proposed HIMARS acquisition entails not only the long-range rocket systems themselves but also a comprehensive package of support systems and associated munitions. As enumerated by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the entire procurement includes:

  • 22 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 60 M30A1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead (AW) Pods with Insensitive Munitions Propulsion System (IMPS);
  • 40 M31A1 GMLRS Unitary (GMLRS-U) High Explosive (HE) Pods with IMPS;
  • 66 M30A2 Extended Range (ER)-GMLRS AW Pods;
  • 24 M31A2 ER GMLRS Unitary (HE) Pods;
  • Reduced Range Practice Rocket (RRPR) Pods;
  • Intercom systems to support the HIMARS Launcher;
  • M1084A2 HIMARS Re-Supply Vehicles (RSV);
  • Trailers;
  • 9300-SL60TN Forklift, Side Loader;
  • Radio/communication mounts;
  • Machine gun mounts;
  • Wheel guards;
  • Ruggedized laptops;
  • Training and training equipment;
  • Publications for HIMARS and its munitions and spares;
  • Corresponding services, other support equipment, and related program elements, such as logistic support.

The estimated total program cost for this comprehensive acquisition is $975 million. Meanwhile, in the press release statement, the US Defense Department noted that the arms sale “will have no adverse impact” on the country’s defense readiness.