The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, today announced that the Government has given Second Pass Approval for a A$493 million project to provide the next generation artillery system for the Australian Army.
Senator Faulkner said the first phase of Land 17 (the Artillery Replacement Project) will provide the Army with four batteries of 35 M777A2 155mm Lightweight Towed Howitzers.
“The Lightweight Towed Howitzer is the most advanced towed artillery system available in the world. It is air-portable under CH-47 Chinook helicopters and can provide a weight of fire not previously available to rapidly deployed forces,” Senator Faulkner said.
“The second phase of the artillery enhancement will include the procurement of a self propelled artillery system, which will be capable of providing fire support to highly mobile mechanised forces.
The artillery system will be further enhanced through the future acquisition of a digital terminal control system for the tactical control of artillery, naval and close air support fires by forward observers and joint terminal attack controllers. This element of the project will be considered by Government in the second half of 2010,” said Senator Faulkner.
Senator Faulkner said these are high priority acquisitions which will provide improved protection and precision firepower to Australian soldiers, allowing missions to be carried out more efficiently, safely and effectively.