The US State Department has approved the sale of 21 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Italy.
The estimated $400 million sale includes M31A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary High Explosive Pods with an Insensitive Munitions Propulsion System.
“This proposed sale will support US foreign policy and national security by helping to improve the security of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally which is an important partner for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated.
“Italy requests these capabilities to provide for the defense of deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with the United States.”
Rome Defense Spending
The approval makes Rome the fourth potential European customer of the in-demand Lockheed Martin wheeled artillery, along with Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.
It is part of a plan to bolster the Italian military by providing systems such as Leopard 2 A8 tanks, drones, and anti-ship weapons for 960 million euros ($1 billion).
Rome plans to increase its annual defense budget by 45 percent by 2025.
Moreover, the Italian Army launched a modernization program in April to upgrade its existing 22 M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems — HIMARS tracked version — to the M270A2 standard.