Australia’s Navy to shell out $1.7billion on 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles to ward of China’s growing military presence in the region
- Australia to invest in 200 long-range cruise missiles
- Cost of Tomahawks will be $1.7billion
Australia’s navy is set to be armed more than 200 Tomahawk missiles amid concerns over China’s growing military presence in the region.
Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy will on Monday announce a $1.7billion investment in new, hi-tech missiles to expand the strike power of the Australian Defence Force.
The purchase comes off the back of the recommendations made in the defence strategic review to urgently beef-up the ADF’s medium-range advanced and high-speed missile defence capabilities.
Mr Conroy said the purchase of the weapons would boost the ADF’s capability quickly but emphasised the government was looking at options to manufacture missiles locally.
‘As we enter what many are calling the missile age, these will be vital tools for the ADF to do its job of defending Australians,’ he said.
Australia’s navy is set to be armed more than 200 Tomahawk missiles amid concerns over China’s growing military presence in the region
The Australian government will on Monday announce a $1.7billion investment in new, hi-tech missiles to expand the strike power of the Australian Defence Force. Pictured: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
The Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles are long-range guided missiles and have a range of up to 1500km.
The US State Department approved the sale of $1.3bn worth (or 220) of Tomahawks back in March, saying at the time it was ‘vital’ to the national interest to assist Australia ‘developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability.’
The guided weapons would initially be fitted to the Hobart-class destroyers.
But they could later be installed on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines Australia plans to purchase from the US, and then build itself, over the next decade.
Australia will be just the third defence force to acquire the weapons after the US and the UK.
Defence Minister Richard Marles said it was important Australia was able to defend itself in an increasingly tumultuous global landscape.
‘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.
The government will also announce on Monday the $431m purchase of more than 60 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) from the US.
The AARGM-ER uses sophisticated technologies to identify, locate and engage land-based targets and will be operated on the Royal Australian Air Force’s Growler and Super Hornet aircraft.
The Chinese Military has become increasingly aggressive in the Asian Pacific in recent years (PLA troops in Beijing pictured)
More than $50m will also be invested to equip the Australian Army’s boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles with Spike Long-Range 2 antitank guided missiles, to provide soldiers with the capability to engage with enemy armour at a range of more than five kilometres.
The investment will come from existing defence funding.
Mr Marles said the war in Ukraine had highlighted the importance of having ‘not just war stocks, but a domestic missile manufacturing industry’.
The contract to procure the AARGM-ER has been awarded to Varley Rafael Australia, with Varley Group to also present options to the government for domestic manufacturing of the missiles.