Sunday, September 19, 2021

U.S. State Department approves sale of white phosphorus artillery rounds to Australia

The Pentagon’s top arms broker, Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the U.S. State Department has cleared a possible of $132.2 million sale of 155mm artillery rounds to Australia, including White Phosphorous projectile munitions.

On December 4, 2020, the U.S. Military’s Agency reported that the U.S. State Department had approved the sale of 155mm Ammunition and Accessories, and related equipment to Australia.

The proposed sale package includes the following according to the DSCA notice: M825A1 155mm White Phosphorous projectile munitions, M782 Multi-Option Fuze for Artillery, M762A1 electronic-timed fuzes, M231 and M232A2 propelling charges, percussion primers, technical publications and books, technical data for operational maintenance, technical assistance and services, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

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The M825A1 155mm White Phosphorous projectile munition is used by the artillery to produce screening smoke to obscure enemy vision or to screen maneuvering elements. The shells also have a secondary incendiary effect.

A white phosphorus artillery round hits its target during the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade’s Annual Training, May 16, 2019 at Camp Shelby, MS.

“The total estimated program cost is $132.2 million,” DSCA said in its announcement.

In addition, its notice says that 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.

“This purchase will enable effective training and extend the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) capability to conduct combined operations,” DSCA said in its announcement. The ADF already has these rounds in service, and is trained and equipped to use them.  Australia will not have any difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces.”

It is also important to note that DSCA said the principal contractor will be determined at a later date.  The material could potentially be sourced from a combination of DoD stocks and new procurement.

It is important to note, however, that U.S. government approval does not mean a country has agreed to purchase the weapons or other systems in question.

Currently, the Royal Australian Artillery units use M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzers.

The M777 provides direct support to combat troops through offensive and defensive fires with conventional and precision-guided projectiles. It can also employ illuminating and smoke projectiles.

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About this Author

Daisuke Sato
Daisuke Sato is defense reporter, covering the Asia-Pacific defense industrial base, defense markets and all related issues.

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