The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of a possible $301m sale of SM-2 Block IIIB Standard missiles, equipment, and support to Australia.
Approved by the US State Department, Australia has requested for up to 80 Standard Missiles, SM-2 Block IIIB vertical launching tactical all-up rounds, RIM-66M-09 and up to 15 MK 97 SM-2 Block IIIB guidance sections (GSs).
The proposed package also covers MK 13 MOD 0 vertical launching system canisters, operator manuals and technical documentation, US Government and contractor engineering, and technical and logistics support services.
The sale is not only consistent with US regional objectives, but is also vital to US national interests to ensure Australia develops and maintains a strong and ready self-defence capability.
Raytheon Missile Systems Company, Raytheon Company, and BAE will serve as the principal contractors for the sale.
The Royal Australian Navy will use the SM-2 Block IIIB missiles for anti-air warfare test firings during combat systems ship qualification trials of its three new Aegis-equipped air warfare destroyers (AWD), which are currently under construction.
When combined with the Aegis combat systems in the destroyers, the SM-2 Block IIIB missiles are expected to provide significantly enhanced area defence capabilities over critical South East Asian air-and-sea-lines of communication.
Currently, Australia's Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates have been integrated with the SM-2 Block IIIA missiles.
Recently, new guided missile test equipment to help maintain the SM-2 all-up round was installed at Australia's Intermediate-Level Maintenance Depot at Defense Establishment Orchard Hills.