JERUSALEM — Australia is spending AU$1.7 billion (U.S. $1.1 billion) on weapons systems to enhance the military’s strike capabilities, the Defence Department announced Monday.

The procurement plan includes a AU$1.3 billion purchase from the United States of more than 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles for the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class destroyers.

The government is also spending AU$431 million on more than 60 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range weapons, also from the United States.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will also supply Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missile systems to Australia through a joint venture, the Israeli firm confirmed Tuesday. The department noted the Spike deal — involving Varley Rafael Australia, a joint venture of Israel’s Rafael and Australian firm The Varley Group — is worth AU$50 million.

Varley Rafael Australia is expected to deliver the first Spike missile early next year, and is developing options for domestic manufacturing.

“The Australian Army’s Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles will also be armed with Spike Long-Range 2 anti-tank guided missiles. This will provide soldiers with the capability to engage with enemy armour at a range of more than five kilometres,” the department said in its release.

The Spike LR2 has a range of 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) at ground level and 10 kilometers (6 miles) from helicopters using a radio frequency data link. The missile is designed with a counter-active protection system capability, and is able to hit targets at impact angles of up to 70 degrees. The Israel Defense Forces first ordered the weapon in October 2017.

Australia’s weapon purchases are part of the country’s defense strategy to develop an ability to precisely strike targets at longer ranges as well as hold an adversary at risk further from its shores.

Australia is a member of the AUKUS agreement that also includes the U.S. and U.K., and will see the three work together to provide the Pacific partner with nuclear-powered submarine technology, among other advancements.

The latest investment comes amid China’s military buildup, and nearly three weeks after the U.S. Navy reported its Virginia-class submarine North Carolina docked at a naval base in Western Australia.

“With the acquisition of these formidable long-range strike missiles the Albanese Government is acting with pace to deliver on the recommendations of the Defence Strategic Review,” Australia’s deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, said in a statement. “The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the importance of having not just war stocks, but a domestic missile manufacturing industry and this announcement will help deliver that.”

Tzally Greenberg is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has experience reporting on economic affairs as well as defense and cyber companies.

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