US agrees to sell 220 Tomahawk missiles to Australia | CNN
The US State Department has approved Australia’s request to buy 220 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles, making it the second US ally to receive the US-made weapon after Britain.
According to one Defense Security Cooperation Agency statementThe contract will cost 1.3 billion Australian dollars ($895 million), including maintenance and logistics support.
“The proposed sale will improve Australia’s ability to interoperate with US naval forces and other allied forces, as well as contribute to missions of mutual interest,” the statement added.
The agreement was approved the same week that the US, Australia and the UK provided more details of AUKUS. Their tripartite agreement to share technology and resources to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
Under the Under the deal, the US will sell at least three Virginia-class submarines to Australia. Additionally, Australia and Britain will develop their own new nuclear-powered fleets to enhance allied capabilities in the Indo-Pacific. Where China is building its military assets.
First deployed in the Gulf War in 1991, Tomahawk missiles fly at high subsonic speeds at extremely low altitudes and are controlled by multiple mission-specific guidance systems. According to the US NavyThey can be launched from US and UK-built submarines as well as US Navy ships.
So far only the UK has bought tomahawks from the US, but only recently Japan announced its intention to buy hundreds. of missiles, which have a range of more than 1,000 km (621 mi), to enhance its defense capabilities.
The Tomahawks can be used by the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class destroyers and are also compatible with the Virginia-class submarines that Australia plans to purchase from the US as part of the AUKUS agreement.
Australian Defense Minister Pat Conroy told the country’s national broadcaster ABC on Friday that the weapons were a necessary deterrent.
“It is part of this government’s agenda to give the ADF the best possible capability, to give it a greater ability to strike at long range and to deter any potential adversary,” Conroy told the ABC. “Thus we promote peace and stability by putting a question mark in the mind of any potential adversary.”
Although the multibillion-dollar AUKUS deal has the support of Australia’s two major political parties, it was criticized this week by former Labor prime minister Paul Keating.
In a statement, Keating, who served as the country’s leader between 1991 and 1996, called it “the worst international decision by an Australian Labor government” in more than 100 years.
“Australia is locked into its next half-century as a transatlantic power, subordinate to the US in Asia,” he wrote.
“The reality is we don’t need them,” Keating said, referring to the subs, arguing that more diesel-powered submarines – an extension of Australia’s fleet of Collins-class submarines – off Australia’s coastline. It will be enough for defense.
The AUKUS deal is expected to cost $245 billion (A$368 billion) over 30 years.