Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The State Department has approved a possible sale of up to 200 AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles and related equipment to the Australian government for an estimated cost of $990 million, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
According to the DSCA, Australia's request also included support and test equipment, technical publications and documentation, personnel training, training equipment, technical assistance from the U.S. government and contractor representatives -- and engineering and logistics support.
"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific," said DSCA's announcement of the sale approval. "The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region."
The AGM-158C LRASM Long Range Anti-Ship Missile is a stealth anti-ship cruise missile with more sophisticated autonomous targeting capabilities than the U.S. Navy's current Harpoon anti-ship missile, which has been in service since 1977.
The LRASM, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, has been in service since 2018.
In February 2019 Lockheed won a $33.4 million contract to redesign, integrate and test radio frequency sensors for the missiles as part of a cost-reduction initiative.
DCSA's announcement said Australia plans to use the missiles on F-18 aircraft and in support of the Australian Navy's potential maritime partnerships. This is Australia's first time purchasing these missiles.