Australia to buy 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles from US

Canberra: Australia plans to buy up to 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States after the US State Department approved the sale in a deal valued at nearly $900m.
The deal, which the Pentagon said involves up to 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles and technical support, comes just days after Australia announced it would buy three nuclear-powered attack submarines – with an option to acquire two more – from the US amid concerns over China’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific.
Australian officials said the new nuclear-powered submarines would be able to fire Tomahawk missiles.
“Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific,” the US Department of Defence said in a statement on Friday. Australia’s strategic location “contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region,” the department said.
“By deploying the Tomahawk Weapon System, Australia will contribute to global readiness and enhance the capability of US Forces operating alongside them globally,” it said. The Tomahawks – jet-powered cruise missiles used primarily by the US and United Kingdom – will cost an estimated $895m.
“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” the defence department added.
Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles said Australia required longer-range missiles.
“Making sure we have longer-range strike missiles is a really important capability for the country,” Marles told Australia’s Channel Nine. “It enables us to be able to reach out beyond our shores further, and that’s ultimately how we are able to keep Australia safe.”
Pat Conroy, Australia’s minister for the defence industry, international development, and the Pacific, said the missiles could be fired from the Virginia-class submarines that Australia announced it will buy from the US.
“We certainly want the best possible capability for the Australian Defence Force, so that includes the ability to strike opponents as far away as possible from the Australian mainland,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “The cruise missiles are a critical part of that, as are the submarines that launch them,” Conroy said.

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