March 20, 2023

Westside People

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Australia welcomes US green light to buy 220 Tomahawk missiles

Australia on Friday welcomed the US green light to its plan to buy 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles to equip submarines to be supplied by Washington as part of the AUKUS alliance, set up to curb China’s influence.

Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the long-range weapons would be deployed first on existing surface ships and later on these new nuclear-powered submarines.

“The ability to conduct long-range attacks is at the heart of Australia’s defense strategy”, Mr Conroy stressed, “keeping the adversary at bay”.

Australia announced in September 2021 that it would purchase US Tomahawk cruise missiles through the voice of its then Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The Pentagon announced Thursday that the US State Department had given the green light to the sale. The size of the operation was estimated by the US Agency for Defense Cooperation at 895 million US dollars (840 million euros), including maintenance and logistical support.

Initially allocated to Australian Hobart-class destroyers, the equipment will give Australia an inland arsenal with a range of more than 1,000 kilometres.

The announcement comes after US, UK and Australian leaders on Monday launched the AUKUS alliance to build a new generation of nuclear submarines in Australia following Canberra’s purchase of five US nuclear submarines in the early 2030s.

The acquisition of submarines capable of long-distance travel without coming to the surface should put Australia at the forefront of US efforts to counter China’s military expansion.

The end of the AUKUS alliance between the three countries led to a diplomatic crisis with France in 2021 after Canberra canceled a deal to buy 12 French submarines, which was hailed as “treason”. .

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In late February, Japan also announced the purchase of 400 Tomahawk missiles from the United States.