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Australia to equip Hobart-class destroyers with Tomahawk cruise missiles

The Royal Australian Navy Hobart-class destroyer, HMAS Sydney , firing a Harpoon missile during Exercise ‘Pacific Vanguard 2022'. The class will soon be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) fleet of Hobart-class air warfare destroyers will be equipped with the Tomahawk cruise missile, making Australia one of only three countries to field this weapon alongside the US and the UK.

The matter was disclosed by Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, in a media statement on 21 August. It is part of a more than AUD1.7 billion (USD1 billion) procurement, which will equip the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with long-range strike missiles and precision-guided weapons.

The Tomahawk cruise missile is a submarine and surface vessel-launched subsonic land-attack cruise missile with inertial navigation system (INS) guidance. The Raytheon-supplied weapon has a range of about 1,500 km and is able to strike at both static and dynamic targets.

The Australian government has decided to procure more than 200 Tomahawk missiles for approximately AUD1.3 billion, according to the statement from Marles.

In addition to the Tomahawk, the Australian government is acquiring more than 60 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) from the US for AUD431 million. The weapons will be operated on the Royal Australian Air Force's Growler and Super Hornet aircraft, and its usage will eventually be expanded to the F-35A Lightning II fighters.

Furthermore, the Australian Army's Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles will be armed with the Spike Long-Range 2 anti-tank guided missiles under a AUD50 million contract. “This will provide soldiers with the capability to engage with enemy armour at a range of more than five kilometres,” according to the statement from Marles.

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