CANBERRA (ABC News, Dr Majid Khan)
Australia is about to acquire 220 Tomahawk missiles. A successful sale could cost up to $1.3 billion. But what do they do and are they worth the price?
What is a tomahawk missile?
The Tomahawk is a powerful offensive precision missile launched primarily from ships and submarines. They belong to the category of cruise missiles. That is, it flies at subsonic speeds at low altitudes. Sale of Tomahawk missiles to Australia approved
Australia can purchase up to 220 Tomahawk guided missiles from the United States. This helps Australia “contribute to the mission of the common interest”.
They have been on and off over the years. Each iteration is called a variant and usually contains upgrades or improvements to the original design.
His fourth iteration of the Tomahawk, called Block IV, can hit targets 1,000 miles away and fire at them at Mach 0.74 (913.8 km/h). Designed for ground attack, it is equipped with an advanced guidance system that allows the missile to change targets in flight.
They can be launched from ships and submarines, and can even cruise the battlefield for hours, changing course instantly on command.
Tomahawk missiles are manufactured in America by Raytheon Technologies, one of the world’s largest defense contractors.
Smoke billows towards the horizon from a large destroyer at sea.
The United States has approved the sale of Tomahawk missiles to Australia to equip the Navy with weapons used by the United States and Britain.
How good is a tomahawk? The United States has been the largest user of the Tomahawk missile since it was first designed by General Dynamics in the 1970s.
According to Raytheon, the US has fired Tomahawk missiles more than 2,300 times in combat.
In 2016, the U.S. government purchased 149 of her Tomahawk missiles (Block IV) for $202.3 million, and another 100 in 2017 for $186.9 million.
In 2018, the US Navy launched 66 of her Tomahawk missiles in Syria. It was also heavily relied upon during the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq. It is reportedly used by the US in Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Yemen and Libya.
Introduced in 2021, Block V is the latest variation of the Tomahawks. It is more advanced and can attack targets in motion at sea, as well as a wider variety of land targets.
It is unclear which variant of the Tomahawk the Royal Australian Navy will acquire.
How will they deal with Chinese missiles? China has a variety of missiles, including ICBMs known as ICBMs. DF-31, DF-41, DF-5 he can hit targets at a distance of 7,000-15,000 kilometers.
It can also carry a nuclear warhead. Australia does not have her ICBM capability.
But their more similar his DF-21 missile is a medium-range ballistic missile known as an MRBM. With a longer range than the Tomahawk, it can hit targets up to 1,300 miles away. It can also carry a nuclear warhead. In addition, China’s military has HN-1, HN-2, and HN-3 cruise missiles capable of hitting targets at ranges of 600 to 3,000 kilometers.
They can also carry nuclear warheads and can be launched from the ground, ships, submarines and air.
It also has the anti-ship YJ-18 missile and its variants that can be launched from ships, submarines, and the ground. It has a cruising speed of Mach 0.8 and can hit targets up to 540 km away.