The Australian Government has approved around $2.63bn (A$3.5bn) procurement of missile strike capabilities for the Australian Defence Forces (ADF).

The accelerated acquisition of weapon capabilities include a naval missile for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) surface fleet and a maritime mine to guard Australia’s ports.

The Harpoon anti-ship missile in the RAN’s Anzac-class frigates and Hobart-class destroyers will be replaced by the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM).

The acquisition of NSM, an anti-ship and land-attack missile, will enhance Australia’s maritime strike capabilities by doubling the current range of the frigates and destroyers.

Installationof the naval missileonto the Hobart-class destroyers and Anzac-class frigates is expected to begin from 2024.

According to the Australian government, the NSM along with the previously acquired Tomahawk cruise missiles will improve the capabilities of the naval forces.

In addition, the government will acquire a joint air-to-surface standoff missile – extended range (JASSM-ER) for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said: “With Australia’s strategic environment becoming more complex and challenging, our ADF must be able to hold potential adversary forces and infrastructure at risk from a greater distance.

“These world-class strike weapon systems will equip our forces to better protect Australia’s maritime approaches and when necessary, contribute to coalition operations in our region.”

Dutton added: “The JASSM-ER will enable the FA-18F Super Hornet, and in future the F-35A Lightning II, to engage targets at a range of 900km.”

Meanwhile in March this year, the RAN received its first evolved Cape-class patrol boat (CCPB), Cape Otway, under the Australian Government’s programme to build six evolved CCPB.