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An American-made M142 high-mobility artillery rocket system, known as Himars, is deployed during military exercises near Skede, Latvia © Gints Ivuškāns/AFP/Getty Images

The Australian government said on Thursday it would spend more than A$1 billion ($680 million) on advanced missile defences, including the American-made Himars system that has proven effective in defending Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

The Himars package, which includes launchers, missiles and training rockets, will provide the Australian military with a “significant increase in capability”, said Richard Marles, the country’s defense minister.

CEA, an Australian company, will provide a radar system to be integrated into Himars launchers, he added.

The US State Department said in May it had approved the sale of Lockheed Martin’s M142 high-mobility artillery rocket launchers and related equipment for an estimated $385 million.

The system is expected to be rolled out in Australia in 2026-2027.

“In today’s strategic environment, it is important that the Australian Defense Force is equipped with high-end targeted military capabilities,” said Marles.

Himars’ announcement comes a day after Canberra signed a deal with Norwegian group Kongsberg to supply naval missiles to Australian destroyers and frigates from 2024.

In recent years, Australia has adopted a more high-profile defense posture, with the previous Conservative government increasing military spending and signing a trilateral security pact with the US and UK in 2021.

Last month, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after a meeting with Marles that Washington would “deepen our defense cooperation” with Canberra.

Austin said the United States planned to deploy more fighters, bombers and other assets to Australia in the face of “dangerous and coercive” Chinese actions in the Indo-Pacific region.

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