February 5, 2023

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Live updates: China confirms the reopening of the Hong Kong crossing on January 8

Live updates: China confirms the reopening of the Hong Kong crossing on January 8

A US-made M142 highly mobile artillery missile system, known as HIMARS, is deployed during military exercises near Skidi, Latvia © Gints Ivuškāns / AFP / Getty Images

The Australian government said Thursday it will spend more than 1 billion Australian dollars (680 million US dollars) on advanced missile defenses, including the US-made HIMARS system. It proved successful in defending Ukraine from the Russian invasion.

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marless said the HIMARS package, which includes launchers, missiles and training missiles, would provide the Australian military with a “significant capability boost”.

He added that the Australian company CEA will provide a radar system that will be integrated with the HIMARS launchers.

The US State Department said in May that it had approved the sale of Lockheed Martin’s M142 High Mobility Artillery System launchers and related equipment for US$385 million.

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

“In the current strategic environment, it is critical that the Australian Defense Forces be equipped with advanced and targeted military capabilities,” Marless said.

Himars’ announcement comes a day after Canberra signed an agreement with Norway’s Kongsberg Group to supply Australian destroyers and frigates with naval missiles starting in 2024.

Australia has in recent years taken a prominent defensive stance, with the former 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 Marlies that Washington “Deepen our defense cooperationwith Canberra.

Austin said the United States plans 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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