U.S. Pledges to Help Australia Manufacture Guided Missiles by 2025

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – The United States will broaden its navy industrial base by serving to Australia manufacture guided missiles and rockets for each international locations inside two years, the allies introduced on Saturday as they ramped up protection cooperation to counter China’s rising affect within the Indo-Pacific.

The new cooperation on guided weapon manufacturing follows a trilateral partnership announcement in March that may see Britain present Australia with a fleet of eight submarines powered by U.S. nuclear expertise.

The higher integration of U.S. and Australian militaries was introduced after annual talks between U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and their Australian counterparts, Defense Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

They agreed to cooperate on Australia producing Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems by 2025, a communique mentioned.

U.S. corporations Raytheon and Lockheed Martin solely established an Australian enterprise to construct such weapons final yr. That adopted the drain on Western international locations’ munitions induced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Austin mentioned the transfer on missiles would strengthen the 2 allies’ protection industrial base and technological edge.

“We’re racing to accelerate Australia’s priority access to munitions through a streamlined acquisition process,” Austin instructed reporters in Brisbane, Australia.

Marles welcomed U.S. help to obtain Australian missile manufacturing inside two years.

“We are really pleased with the steps that we are taking in respect of establishing a guided weapons and explosive ordnance enterprise in this country,” Marles mentioned.

The two governments additionally agreed to improve joint navy amenities in Australia and to improve U.S. nuclear submarine visits because the United States will increase its give attention to the South Pacific.

The area got here to the forefront of the U.S. competitors with China for affect final yr, when Beijing signed a safety pact with Solomon Islands and raised the prospect of a Chinese naval base being established there.

Austin turned the primary U.S. protection secretary to go to Papua New Guinea and Blinken visited New Zealand and Tonga earlier than they arrived in Australia.

Saturday’s assembly was overshadowed by the lack of an Australian Army helicopter with 4 air crew late Friday, throughout navy workouts with the U.S. off the northeastern coast of Australia.

U.S., Australian and Canadian militaries are participating within the seek for potential survivors close to Whitsunday Islands off the Queensland state coast.

Austin and Marles will journey to north Queensland on Sunday to examine Talisman Sabre, a biennial navy train between the 2 international locations that this yr consists of 13 nations and greater than 30,000 navy personnel.

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