Lockheed Martin and Thales Australia have agreed to develop booster and rocket motor technology for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) – Surface Launch (SL) variant.

The development will be carried out as part of a teaming agreement between the two parties.

It will see the companies jointly design, develop and produce the LRASM SL.

Developed based on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER), LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile designed to fill the requirements of warfighters in contested environments.

Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Joe North said: “This is a step change for future weapons manufacture in Australia. Through technology transfer and innovation we see the opportunity to drive the creation of a skilled local workforce, build resiliency in supply chains and help secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities for now and into the future.”

Joe added that the latest agreement advances the ‘proven and mature LRASM maritime strike capability across further platforms’ for the surface and ground launch domains.

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The agreement will bring Australia a step closer to reaching its objective of expanding the sovereign defence industrial and manufacturing capability.

Thales Australia chief executive officer Chris Jenkins said: “Thales currently employs over 650 skilled staff to manufacture munitions systems for the ADF and allied forces, and we work with over 500 Australian small and medium enterprises and a large range of weapons systems Primes to ensure the ADF receives the locally manufactured munitions they need.

“Through the signing of this agreement with Lockheed Martin, we look forward to expanding our existing booster and rocket motor production lines to design, develop and manufacture LRASM SL.”

In February, Lockheed Martin won a $414m production contract from the US Navy and USAF for LRASM production.

Last December, Lockheed Martin awarded a contract to BAE Systems to build and supply additional advanced missile seekers for an LRASM missile.