BAE unveils low-cost air launched precision munition for Australian rotorcraft

BAE Systems Australia has announced the development of a new, low-cost, precision-guided weapon system for use by the Australian armed forces. The system, named “Razer,” is designed to transform standard non-guided munitions into a precision air-launched weapon using a wing body assembly and GPS-enabled tail unit for guidance. The system will be manufactured in Australia, and BAE Systems Australia notes that it is applicable for use by crewless combat air vehicles (UCAVs) and rotary-wing aircraft. BAE Systems Australia has also revealed plans to develop Strix, an Australian-produced vertical take-off and landing UCAV, as part of a broader effort to boost domestic defense production.

Razer has the potential to meet local and overseas demand for low-cost sovereign munition solutions, providing a powerful and affordable battlefield strike capability for global users, says Ben Hudson, CEO of BAE Systems Australia. BAE Systems Australia’s move to develop Razer and Strix is part of an effort to enhance Australia’s domestic capability and export market for defense products. Although decisions about the possible export of Razer and other Australian defense products will be made by Canberra at a later date, the company notes potential export customers for Razer include the USA, the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands.

The development of precision munitions has become a major topic of discussion among NATO members in recent years, particularly due to concerns about the West’s defense industrial base’s capacity to maintain ammunition supplies in a protracted conflict. The USA has empowered the Pentagon to acquire thousands more precision strike weapons to support Ukraine and expand the Department of Defense’s stockpiles. Analysts warn that Washington and its allies would likely deplete such stocks within a few weeks of an Indo-Pacific theatre conflict against China.

To address these concerns, Australia and the USA are exploring unconventional solutions, such as using air cargo assets to rapidly deploy ground-based precision munitions to strike high-value targets deep behind enemy lines. The concept is known as a fire raid.

The Razer system’s GPS-enabled tail unit for guidance and wing-body assembly will enable it to transform standard non-guided munitions into precision air-launched weapons. This capability will provide the Australian armed forces with a powerful battlefield strike capability and enhance their operational effectiveness. The potential for exporting the Razer system to countries such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands further highlights Australia’s growing role as a supplier of high-quality defense products to the global market.