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Top guns: Australia will buy 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles to deter China threat

Australia will buy more than 200 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles for its navy under a $1.3 billion investment, as concerns mount over China’s military presence in the Indo-Pacific.

Aug 21, 2023, updated Aug 21, 2023
 The US State Department has approved Australia’s request to buy up to 220 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles, making it only the second US ally to obtain the US-made weapon after the United Kingdom. U.S. Navy photo by Fire Controlman 1st Class Stephen J. Zeller via ABACAPRESS.COM.

The US State Department has approved Australia’s request to buy up to 220 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles, making it only the second US ally to obtain the US-made weapon after the United Kingdom. U.S. Navy photo by Fire Controlman 1st Class Stephen J. Zeller via ABACAPRESS.COM.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy will on Monday in Sydney announce more than $1.7 billion for new high-tech missiles for all three services of the Australian Defence Force.

The purchase comes in response to the defence strategic review, which recommended the ADF develop the ability to strike targets at longer range.

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles are a world-leading strike weapon and have a range of up to 1500km.

They would be mounted on the Australian navy’s Hobart class destroyers.

Australia will be just one of three countries to acquire them after the US and the UK.

The US State Department approved the sale of up to 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles to Australia earlier in March, saying it was “vital to the US national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability”.

Mr Conroy said the purchase of the weapons would bolster the ADF’s capability quickly, with the government considering options for how the missiles could be manufactured locally.

“As we enter what many are calling the missile age, these will be vital tools for the Australian Defence Force to do its job of defending Australians,” he said.

The RAAF will acquire more than 60 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missiles from the US under a $431 million spend.

More than $50 million will also be invested to arm the Australian Army’s boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles with Spike Long-Range 2 anti-tank guided missiles.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrated the importance of war stocks and a domestic missile manufacturing industry.

“We are investing in the capabilities our defence force needs to hold our adversaries at risk further from our shores and keep Australians safe in the complex and uncertain world in which we live today,” he said.

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