HomeBreaking NewsUS agrees to sell 220 Tomahawk missiles to Australia

US agrees to sell 220 Tomahawk missiles to Australia

Brisbane, Australia (CNN) The US State Department has approved Australia’s request to buy up to 220 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles to arm its navy ships and the US nuclear-powered submarines it agreed to buy this week.

according to a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agencythe 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 acquisition is part of the AUKUS agreement between the US, Australia and the UK. a three-way pact to share technology and resources to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines in the next two decades.

Under the broader deal, the US 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.

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 Navythey can be launched from US and UK manufactured submarines, as well as US Navy ships.

So far only the UK has bought Tomahawks from the US, but recently Japan announced its intention to buy hundreds of the missiles, which cover a distance of more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), to boost their defense capabilities.

Australia will buy at least three Virginia-class submarines from the US.

Australian Defense Minister Pat Conroy told the country’s national broadcaster ABC on Friday that the Tomahawks could be made available for use by the Australian Defense Force (ADF) ahead of planned delivery. of the first of three Virginia-class submarines built in the US in 2033.

When the AUKUS deal was first announced in 2021, the Australian government said it was looking tomahawks to equip the Hobart-class destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy.

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

Referring to the submarines, Keating said: “The fact is we just 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. cost line.

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

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