US agrees to sell 220 Tomahawk missiles to Australia

tomahawk missiles

Brisbane, Australia () — The US State Department has approved Australia’s request to purchase up to 220 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles, making it the second US ally to obtain this US-made weapon after the UK. United.

According to a release from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the deal will cost up to A$1.3 billion ($895 million), including maintenance and logistical support.

“The proposed sale will enhance Australia’s ability to interoperate with US maritime forces and other allied forces, as well as its ability to contribute to missions of mutual interest,” the statement added.

The approval of the deal comes the same week that the US, Australia and the UK provided more details about AUKUS, their tripartite pact to share technology and resources to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

Under that deal, the United States will sell at least three Virginia-class submarines to Australia. In addition, Australia and the UK will build their own fleets of new nuclear-powered submarines to boost allied capabilities in the Indo-Pacific, where China has been building its military assets.

tomahawk missiles

First deployed in the Gulf War in 1991, Tomahawk missiles fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds and are controlled by various guidance systems tailored to the mission. According to the US Navy, they can be launched from US and UK-made submarines, as well as US Navy ships.

So far, only the UK has bought Tomahawks from the US, but Japan recently announced its intention to buy hundreds of missiles, covering a distance of more than 1,000 kilometers, to boost its defense capabilities.

Virginia-class submarines

Australia will buy at least three Virginia-class submarines from the US (Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images/Stocktrek Images)

The Tomahawks could be used by the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class destroyers and are also compatible with the Virginia-class submarines Australia plans to purchase from the US under the AUKUS deal.

Australia’s Defense Minister Pat Conroy told the country’s national broadcaster ABC on Friday that the weapons were a necessary deterrent.

“This is part of this government’s agenda to give the ADF the best capability possible, to give them a greater ability to deliver long-range strikes and keep any potential adversaries at bay,” Conroy told ABC. “This is how we promote peace and stability by putting question marks in the mind of any potential adversary.”

While the multi-billion dollar AUKUS deal enjoys the support of Australia’s two main political parties, it came under intense criticism this week from former Labor Premier Paul Keating.

In a statement, Keating, who served as the country’s leader from 1991 to 1996, called it “the worst international decision by an Australian Labor government” in more than 100 years.

“Australia locks itself into its next half century in Asia as subservient to the United States, an Atlantic power,” he wrote.

Referring to the submarines, Keating said: “The fact is we simply don’t need them,” arguing that more diesel-electric submarines, an expansion of Australia’s Collins-class submarine fleet, would be enough to defend Australia’s coastline.

The deal with AUKUS is expected to cost up to US$245 billion (A$368 billion) over 30 years.

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Written by Editor TLN

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