(Sydney) Australia welcomed on Friday the American green light to its plan to purchase 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles intended to equip the submarines that Washington must provide to it within the framework of the AUKUS alliance established to contain the Chinese influence.
These long-range weapons will be deployed first on existing surface ships and then on this new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy said.
The capability for “long-range strikes is at the heart” of Australia’s defense strategy of “keeping the adversary at bay”, Conroy stressed.
Australia announced in September 2021 the purchase of American Tomahawk cruise missiles, through the voice of its then Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The US State Department has given the green light to the sale, the Pentagon announced Thursday. The cost of the operation was assessed by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency at US$895 million, including maintenance and logistical support.
This equipment, which will initially be assigned to Australian Hobart-class destroyers, will provide Australia with an onboard arsenal with a range of more than 1,000 kilometers.
The announcement comes after US, UK and Australian leaders launched the AUKUS alliance on Monday to build a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines in Australia following Canberra’s purchase of up to five US nuclear-powered submarines. Virginia-class in the early 2030s.
This acquisition of submarines capable of traveling great distances without having to come to the surface should put Australia at the forefront of US efforts to counter Chinese military expansion.
The conclusion of the AUKUS alliance between the three countries, with the corollary of the cancellation by Canberra of the contract for the acquisition of 12 French submarines, had given rise in 2021 to a diplomatic crisis with France, which had shouted at the ” treason “.
At the end of February, Japan also announced the purchase of 400 Tomahawk missiles from the United States.