The Kongsberg-Thales “StrikeMaster” is still the only confirmed competitor for the Australian Army’s land-based anti-ship missile project, Project Land 4100 Phase 2. Several potential competitors with a significant presence in the Australian market, contacted for comment by Naval News, declined to confirm if they will submit bids for the effort.
James Heading, Senior Manager for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, told Naval News that:
“Lockheed Martin Australia is collaborating with Thales Australia in the design, development and production of Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – Surface Launch (LRASM SL) variant, with a specific focus on booster and rocket motor technologies. This partnership will advance the proven and mature LRASM maritime strike capability across further platforms for the next generation of surface and ground launch domains.”
An in-depth profile of LRASM SL, and the ongoing collaboration between Lockheed and Thales Australia, can be found here. Out of all the potential offerings, LRASM-SL has by far the longest reach, at least based on open-source data.
Contacted for comment by Naval News Saab, which produces the RBS-15 anti-ship missile, said that while they were aware of the program, they had yet to decide on their level of involvement.
“Saab is aware of the project but at this time Saab has yet to determine our level of involvement, if any.”
The RBS-15, in various configurations, is used by several countries including Finland and Croatia as a road-mobile anti-ship missile platform.
StrikeMaster Prototype On The Way
While other companies were understandably tight-lipped, Kongsberg Defence Australia provided detailed answers to questions posed by Naval News. Kongsberg confirmed to Naval News that, if all goes to plan, Naval Strike Missile (NSM) launchers will be integrated onto a Bushmaster vehicle by the end of this calendar year.
“The NSM being acquired for DDG/FFH is identical to the NSM for StrikeMaster. Missiles can be used interchangeably between the platforms. Kongsberg believes the use of common family of missiles across multiple platforms offers the Commonwealth enormous flexibility and lower cost of ownership”
The first actual NSM missiles for Australia, which are currently being acquired under Project SEA 1300, will enter the country in 2024. Kongsberg also told Naval News that, unless directed by the Department of Defence, they don’t expect to perform a Strikemaster-specific live-fire test.
No News on Blue Spear
Israel Aerospace Industries, ST Engineering and their joint venture Proteus Advanced Systems didn’t respond to detailed questions from Naval News about their Blue Spear missile before publication. Last year, Proteus Advanced Systems confirmed the sale of an unspecified number of Blue Spear missiles and land-based launchers to Estonia.