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Japan inks letter of acceptance for Tomahawk missiles

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry is seen here launching a Tomahawk cruise missile. The JMSDF will soon be equipped with this capability. (US Navy)

Japan has concluded a letter of acceptance (LOA) that paves the way for the country to acquire the Tomahawk cruise missile and its related equipment from the US.

This acquisition milestone was concluded on 18 January, the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on the same day. The weapons will be procured under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, and its acquisition will occur between fiscal year (FY) 2025 and FY 2027, the ministry added.

The Japan MoD first announced in October 2023 that it was accelerating efforts to procure selected stand-off weapons, including the Tomahawk cruise missile, amid deteriorating security conditions in the region.

Tokyo was originally scheduled to receive Block V variants of the weapon in FY 2026 and FY 2027. While this variant will still be acquired according to the original delivery timeline, the Japanese government has decided to procure the Block IV variant of the Tomahawk from FY 2025, the MoD disclosed at that time.

Then in November 2023 the US State Department disclosed that it has approved a possible sale of Block IV and Block V Tomahawk missiles and associated equipment to Japan.

A notice published by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on the possible sale then disclosed that it is estimated to be worth some USD2.35 billion.

Tokyo has requested to buy up to 200 Block IV and 200 Block V missiles and 14 Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System units, the DSCA said in its notice.

Besides acquiring Tomahawk missiles, Japan is also accelerating the procurement of domestically developed stand-off missiles.

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