Australia to buy some 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States

Tomahawk Australia

Australia confirmed this Friday (03.17.2023) its intention to buy long-range missiles from the United States as part of the AUKUS security pact, shortly after Washington announced that it authorized the sale of up to 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles to the oceanic country.

“We are working with the United States to get more missile capability,” Australia’s Defense Minister Richard Marles told Australia’s Nine television network, stressing the country’s need to arm itself with “longer-range” missiles that are able to “reach beyond our shores”.

However, Marles refused to give details about the number of long-range missiles that Australia will acquire, despite the fact that the US Department of Defense announced the day before the approval of the sale of up to 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles for a value of 895 million dollars (841 million euros).

To “strengthen national defense”

For Washington, the proposed sale of these missiles “will enhance Australia’s ability to interoperate with US maritime forces and other allied forces,” in order to deal “with regional threats and to strengthen its national defense,” according to the statement. of the North American country, which makes a veiled allusion to China.

For his part, Australian Minister for Defense Industries, Pat Conroy, told Australian public broadcaster ABC today that the Tomahawk missiles, which will initially be installed on the Hobart-class destroyer ships of the Australian Navy, will serve to “maintain ward off any potential adversaries” and “promote peace and stability.

Nuclear submersibles

Conroy also explained that these missiles will be able to be fired from Virginia nuclear-powered submarines, which will be purchased from the United States as part of a complex multi-stage plan that culminates in Australia’s construction of British-designed nuclear submersibles with American technology.

“The Virginia class comes equipped to fire heavy torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles. We want the best possible capability for the Australian Defense Force, which includes the ability to strike adversaries as far off the Australian coast as possible,” Conroy said.

The AUKUS pact, signed by Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom in September 2021, is based on the purchase of nuclear-powered submarines by Australia, a program that is estimated to represent a final value for Canberra of between 268,000 million and 368,000 million Australian dollars (between 179.147 million and 246.854 million US dollars).