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US to manufacture long-range missiles for HIMARS in Australia for needs of Ukraine - WSJ

US to manufacture long-range missiles for HIMARS in Australia for needs of Ukraine - WSJ Photo: The US will produce missiles in Australia for the HIMARS systems operating in Ukraine (Getty Images)

The United States plans to open the first foreign factory in Australia for the production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for reactive salvo fire systems. The ammunition will be directed to the needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, informs The Wall Street Journal.

The source notes that Lockheed company plans to hire six Australian engineers to prepare and launch production. The decision was made because the US defense industry cannot meet demand and quickly replenish rocket stocks.

"The rapid consumption of munitions in Ukraine and the Middle East—from missiles to artillery shells—has strained the ability of the U.S industrial base to meet demand and replenish depleted stocks. The Biden administration is seeking to develop multiple production lines across allied nations for critical weapons, though that isn't easy," writes WSJ.

Australian officials note that the first batch of 12 GMLRS rockets is planned to be tested by the end of 2025, and by 2030 the country expects to produce thousands of ammunition annually. Obstacles to the implementation of the plan may include a shortage of personnel, transportation difficulties, and a deficit of necessary production components.

Rocket production is planned at a military base on the outskirts of Sydney. The publication emphasizes that this is the first plant outside the US to produce such weapons.

GMLRS rockets are manufactured by the American company Lockheed Martin. They are equipped with a satellite guidance system and can hit targets up to 80 km away.

Military aid from the United States to Ukraine

On March 12, the United States announced a new package of assistance to Ukraine worth $300 million. Among other items, it includes artillery shells and GMLRS rockets for HIMARS.

Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis, stated that Ukraine needs not 40 but 400 HIMARS launchers to win the war against Russia.

Previously, the US tested new rockets for the HIMARS rocket artillery systems.