The U.S. State Department has approved a potential Foreign Military Sale to Australia for Tomahawk Block V and Block IV All Up Rounds (AUR) and related equipment, estimated to cost $895 million.

Australia has requested to purchase 200 Tomahawk Block V AUR (RGM-109E) and 20 Tomahawk Block IV AUR (RGM-109E), along with support for the Tomahawk Weapon System, including maintenance, spares, training, and other logistical and program support.

The proposed sale, say the U.S. State Department, supports U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives, as Australia is a key ally in the Western Pacific, contributing to regional peace and economic stability.

“The sale will improve Australia’s interoperability with U.S. and allied maritime forces and its ability to contribute to missions of mutual interest. Australia will use the enhanced capability for deterrence against regional threats and homeland defence.”

The prime U.S. contractor is Raytheon Missiles and Defense, based in Tucson, AZ. No known offset agreements are proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation will require multiple trips by U.S. Government representatives and contractor personnel to Australia for delivery, integration, and support management.

Here’s the sale notice.

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of Tomahawk Block V and Block IV All Up Rounds (AUR) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $895 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Government of Australia has requested to buy up to two hundred (200) Tomahawk Block V All Up Rounds (AUR) (RGM-109E); and up to twenty (20) Tomahawk Block IV All Up Rounds (AUR) (RGM-109E). Also included is support for all three segments of Australia’s Tomahawk Weapon System (TWS) to include the All Up Round (AUR), the Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System (TTWCS) and the Theater Mission Planning Center (TMPC). The support consists of unscheduled missile maintenance; spares; procurement; training; in-service support; software; hardware; communication equipment; operational flight test; engineering and technical expertise to maintain the TWS capability; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total cost is $895 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.

The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to interoperate with U.S. maritime forces and other allied forces as well as its ability to contribute to missions of mutual interest. By deploying the Tomahawk Weapon System, Australia will contribute to global readiness and enhance the capability of U.S. Forces operating alongside them globally. Australia will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. Australia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime U.S. contractor will be Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Tucson, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips by U.S. Government representatives and contractor personnel to visit Australia on a temporary basis over the life of the case to support delivery and integration of items and to provide supply support management, inventory control, and equipment familiarization. Visits will also include program and technical reviews.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_713429)
1 year ago

So, can these be launched from the Virginia class boats?

Dillan
Dillan (@guest_713435)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Yes. I believe Block V boats have the capacity to carry around 60 missiles. Up from 30 odd in the previous I-IV boats.

Jim
Jim (@guest_713437)
1 year ago
Reply to  Dillan

Australia not getting Block V Virginia, the US is keeping those to replace SSGN. All Virginia class can fire block IV and block V TLAM as can Astute.

Dillan
Dillan (@guest_713442)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

But isn’t the purchase of this tranche of missiles specifically intended for the three Hobart ships? That’s my understanding of the deal.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan (@guest_713471)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Australia will be getting three Virgina class submarines – a mix of existing and newly built Block Vs. The mix has not been determined.

Jim
Jim (@guest_713475)
1 year ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Where did you read its block V Virginia, everything I have seen indicates it’s older Virginias than block V.

Sean the real Sean
Sean the real Sean (@guest_715247)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Your right , Rickover is US Navy’s last all the Rest on the blocks are Australian . I said this two years ago on same Forum !

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_713501)
1 year ago
Reply to  Dillan

I was sure I read it was block 3-4 that would delivered.
USS Delaware being one boat.
Obviously a large pinch of salt should be taken with anything being disclosed about submarines at this stage.
There are still quite a few block 4 to come into commission still. I don’t see Australia benefiting from having block 5. They are much bigger so less manoeuvrable etc, I can’t see Australia’s main use of subs being launching large numbers of cruise missiles. More likely they will use them for patrol, watching things, following ships etc.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_713507)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Yes that has been my argument all along sometimes less is more and while that doesn’t apply to the US it certainly does to Australia. The only thing having a large scale strike capability of that nature will do is change little in reality in any offensive against China but will make Australia a massive target for strike or counter strike, or god forbid nuclear strike, when China will be likely holding back from striking the US mainland and thus looking for a proxy.

Will
Will (@guest_726514)
1 year ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

So….Australia is more secure by being weaker. Do I understand you correctly?

Jim
Jim (@guest_713438)
1 year ago

Does anyone know where these missiles are coming from? I though tomohawk production had ceased and it was only possible to upgrade existing missiles. Japan apparently wants 800 which would be a real dent in US stock piles if they can’t make anymore. I’m hoping we get some form of long range land attack missile as part of FC/ASW that we can fire form submarines, aircraft and surface ships. 60 or 70 TLAM fired by submarines was fine when Libyan or Iraqi air defences was all we had to worry about but we need the ability to fire hundreds now… Read more »

Ben
Ben (@guest_713439)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

TLAMs are still in production, it’s the torpedo tube launched variant that’s no longer being produced.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_713441)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Worth watching.

Is the Navy ready? How the U.S. is preparing amid a naval buildup in China

LINK

RobW
RobW (@guest_713576)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

The “FC” part is our future cruise missile. The intention is for this to be fired from ships, submarines and aircraft. Radakin explained this to the Defence Select Committee, last summer I believe.

Mk41 VLS on T26 and SSN(R) will enable this. He was also talking about potentially adding MK41 VLS to T31. Seems certain the T83 will get it also.

In the meantime we still have Stormshadow. Estimates of how many we have range wildly from 500 to 1000.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_713443)
1 year ago

So by my reckoning the RAN will have around double the RN ?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_713444)
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Not a lot of point in having many more?

If by some miracle 4 Astutes are deployable then with a few torpedoes it is a full load out.

It would only make sense having more TLAM if there was another launch platform? And there isn’t….

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_713500)
1 year ago

There will be with the T26s.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_713540)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Which isn’t coming fully into service for a decade?

TLAM is very good but things will have. Iced in by then.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_713544)
1 year ago

We’ll have to wait and see where all these TLAMs actually go in the RAN. FC/ASW also running very late.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_713534)
1 year ago

I was really just asking a question, partly because of the need to equip the T26 vessels, but I take your point. Knowing our recent past the T26 will be fitted for but not equipped with anything until goodness knows when.

Steve
Steve (@guest_713539)
1 year ago

The point is that they run out of missiles quickly during the Libya war. We have enough if it’s only about day 1 attacks, but if they need to be used after that we have a issue. Very few wars are over after the initial wave, mainly because we don’t have the numbers to saturate an enemy like the US. Ok if the US are in the fight also we aren’t needed, but if we fight without, for example with European allows, then we have an issue.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_713620)
1 year ago

Indeed, the Uk at best effort will be deploying 2 Astutes with around 20 missiles each into a theatre. No point having hundreds of the things hanging around.

Steve
Steve (@guest_713537)
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Closer to 4x. The RN has around 60, bases on published export orders issued by the US and the numbers fired.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy (@guest_717717)
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

I now think its higher than that. We’ve purchased 214 in total over the years and have fired at most 65 in the various conflicts and tests (the subs never really carry more than 12 and there is never more than 1 sub firing).

Suspect we have around 140-150 in stockpile.

RobW
RobW (@guest_713577)
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

We have, by most estimates, between 500 and 1000 Stormshadow too.

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall (@guest_713445)
1 year ago

I’ve seen many comments recently querying why so many countries seem to get more bang from a smaller defence budget than the UK. This is a good example – the UK has an est. stock of 65 Tomahawk missiles, Australia will soon have over 3 times that number! Australia is starting to blow the UK away in the scope and ambition of its conventional defence programmes. Of course the elephant in the room is that UK spends about 15% of its defence budget on a nuclear deterrent. If that was instead available to be spent on T26’s, E-7A’s, P8A’s, F-35A/B’s,… Read more »

Jim
Jim (@guest_713447)
1 year ago

Australia needs 200 TLAM for the same reason Japan needs 800. Because neither operates CASD. CASD is worth more than all our conventional strength combined. CASD is the only threat we can make against another global power and the only counter we have to another global power trying to take action against us. Every other bit of our military capability is simply an add on to other countries foreign and defence policies or running round trying to bring security and development largely to places that don’t much like us. You can call America a super power but the mere whiff… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim
Roger
Roger (@guest_713449)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Exactly. The UK and French nuclear weapon abilities are two variable factors, not quite “wild cards”, which must give the Russians huge “what if” headaches. Also absolutely essential to hold the line against the Russians if, just if, the US ever became less certain in it’s unconditional defence of Western Europe.

Jim
Jim (@guest_713477)
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger

You only have to look at “Seven Days to the Rhine” to see the value in independent nuclear forces for Britain and France.

Even North Korea which barley has a nuclear capability is probably safe from the USA forever now. Just the thought that a bomb might go off anywhere is such a taboo now it completely paralysed western leaders.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_713508)
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger

The way Trump is talking if any consistency is discernible in it at all, that looks a serious threat. Europe has to be capable of defending itself though who knows without the US nuclear umbrella what machinations mad Vlad would try on. To win in any relationship with China he knows he has to make Europe a scared docile lapdog to shift the World view of Russias weakness.

David
David (@guest_713628)
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger

A second Trump presidency could well see US support for Western Europe waver…….

Nath
Nath (@guest_714275)
1 year ago
Reply to  David

Europe, is what a $20tr+ economy but due to laziness, lack of respect, hubris, who knows couldn’t communicate sufficient conventional strength to prevent Russia invading its back garden. In my opinion, this is unacceptable. Perhaps the USA should take one or two steps back to force some level of consolidation and seriousness by Europe. Its just not fair that the USA has to pay for everything. If we want Europe to be taken more seriously by the USA and have the sovereign capacity to act independently in its own interests then maybe, just maybe we need the US to force… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_713451)
1 year ago

If anything we should have more conventional defence because we have nukes, not less. We are duty bound to ensure the nuke option is a very last existential resort, not something to be waved about after weak conventional forces are beaten. The other use for nukes is to deter by promising to repay like-for-like anybody who recklessly threatens us with their own. The only reason we have weak conventional forces & dangerous weapons stocks is theTory fetish for reducing the state & tax burden for the richest. That blind dogma got us here with savagely dangerous autocracies empowered to threaten… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Frank62
Sean
Sean (@guest_713514)
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank62

No, our conventional forces were reduced as part of the perceived ‘peace dividend’ after the collapse of the USSR. Both the Tories AND Labour (under Blair, Brown) bought into this, as did just about every single politician and political commentator in the entire western world.

Nath
Nath (@guest_714276)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Travel 500 miles East and nearly every European leader was trying to tell every Western leader to take off the rose tinted glasses.

Sean
Sean (@guest_714280)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nath

Really?.. because their actions don’t match the rhetoric.

Defence spending figures for NATO Eastern Europe countries as a % of GDP fell from 2000 to 2014, with the exception of Estonia and Poland who saw small rises of 0.2% and 0.1%.

Obviously the Russian invasion of 2014 changed their spending priorities.

See Table 2 in the section on “NATO alliance and defense spending and burdens”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1758-5899.12328

Last edited 1 year ago by Sean
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_713456)
1 year ago

Which is one reason why the capital costs of it should be sent back to central government where they came from pre 2010, but no journalist wants to ask that tricky question it seems!
Operational costs of AWE and the SSBNs rightly fall to the MoD. But the possession of nukes is a political decision that should not fall on the conventional budget.

Jim
Jim (@guest_713478)
1 year ago

Osbourne’s sneak attack on the defence budget in 2010. God I hate that man.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_713572)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

I think quite a few of us can join you in that, Jim!

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_713650)
1 year ago

Both him and Cameron

Nath
Nath (@guest_714277)
1 year ago
Reply to  grizzler

Agreed, spineless – heirs to Blair.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_713465)
1 year ago

When you look at Australian defence capability and numbers. It certainly is not blowing the UK away in ambition. Everyone as usual is quick to do us down just because they have 1 or 2 assets in ever so slightly larger numbers. Capability is not just about simple numbers. The UK has global reach and influence that goes way beyond the number of tanks we have or stockpiles of TLAM. Australia spends 1.96% of GDP on defence for 2022/3.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_713574)
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Yep, as usual the enabling part from logistics to knowhow to overseas infrastructure to intelligence is ignored for the sexy stuff. I want more in certain pinch key areas too mind, it does comes to a point when numbers matter too.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_713658)
1 year ago

I think before long, a long hard look at defence needs to be undertaken, because we are spreading ourselves so thin. We either need a big increase in defence spending, along with a deep review how to do a better job of spending the money we have. Or. We have to decide what capabilities to let go and consolidation around a smaller number of capabilities but do them very well. The costs are just getting out of hand, and i feel more defence cuts are not far away to fund future capabilities. Even after the extra 5bn recently announced and… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Robert Blay
Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu (@guest_714291)
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

While it is true that Australia will now spend ‘only’ 1.96% of GDP ($48.699 billion) in 2022-23, because Australia’s GDP rose significantly more than originally projected in the year, the relative percentage spend ‘fell’ compared to the previous published budget earlier in the same year (which was 2.11% under the outgoing government in March 2023). Defence spending in the outlying years rises to $52.162 billion (23-24), $54.233 (24-25) and $56.554 billion (25-26). So, an extra $16.852 billion increase over 3 years. That is a substantial uplift in anybody’s currency and a significant commitment for a nation of just 26 million… Read more »

Stc
Stc (@guest_714293)
1 year ago

Point accepted, but please no one be fooled by politicians saying get rid of nukes we will spend it all on conventional arms. They will waste any savings on nuclear arms. Probably virtue signalling, building wind turbines etc and other such things ” not fit for purpose”. Having nukes enabled us to lead and supply conventional weapons to Ukraine. Without nukes the decision to do that would have been a lot harder.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_713472)
1 year ago

We’ll need to wait and see what goes into the T26s MK41s. If the Anglo-French FC/ASW is now reportedly now due in the 2030s the TLAMs could be a stocking filler for these also with 8 x 24 slots to fill.
The TLAMs are still effective, ready right now and not too costly. All very sensible.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_713503)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Is a tomahawk still going to get through a decent defence network? It’s non stealthy, sub sonic. There’s not many options for a missile that has the range and fits in a mk41 tactical launcher.
Obviously a defence network would be taken into account with direction and timing of attack worked out according.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_713518)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I’d be surprised if it’s not still very effective or certainly good enough for now to next 5-10 years with Japan also purchasing it. It will be interesting to see what other platforms these TLAMs go into with only the Hobart’s mentioned so far and possibly the Collins subs. Maybe coastal truck based, or pre-ordering for the T26s but that seems early. Not sure if the MK41s on the Anzac’s can take TLAMs, currently have the ESSM. Someone here will know.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_713531)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

From what I saw on an ANZAC the tubes between the funnels are not strike length. I would also not want a Tomahawk up that high. ANZACs have topweight issues already!

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu (@guest_713543)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Spot on. ANZACs do not have strike length VLS. While the original MEKO design has provision for a second 8 cell Mk 41 VLS, the latest AMCAP upgrade had to address significant topweight issues with the new CEAFAR radar mast now weighing 31 tons. The solution required plating over the transom cutouts in the original design and additional ballast. So the chances of a second VLS or TLAM on the ANZACs is slim to none. My understanding of the Hunter Class spec however, is that they will be fitted with strike length VLS which will ultimately give the RAN 12… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_713550)
1 year ago
Reply to  Oscar Zulu

Top weight with CEFAR was an issue even before they increased the number of plates to take over from the removed SPS 49.
Did some work on Warramunga and Arrunta for mid deployment maintenance periods a few years ago.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu (@guest_713556)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Yeah. The RAN has been pushing their luck with the MEKOs growth margins since the original ASMD upgrade and the AMCAP has effectively maxed out the design.

DJ
DJ (@guest_713623)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I believe the mk41 on ANZAC frigates is tactical length. Even if they were strike length, you would still not carry Tomahawk as their is only the one 8 cell set. Currently they quad pack 32 ESSM (B1 with B2 on order) in that set (which equates to a T23 upgraded to CAMM-ER).

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_713496)
1 year ago

Looks like some politicians or ex politicians are moaning about aukus subs.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/486683/nz-needs-to-distance-itself-from-australia-s-anti-china-nuclear-submarines
I wonder how quick they would change when the PLAN nuclear boats show up in there waters.
Painting China as the enemy does cause some issues and normally the best counter to a growing military is to meet it with an equal or better military and alliances.

Sean
Sean (@guest_713515)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I always take opinion pieces like this with a large dose of salt. The people writing them always have their own agenda and will spin the piece to promote their viewpoint.
It’s sad that news organisations promote such propaganda pieces.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_713522)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Just wait until the Chinese fishing fleet starts encroaching into NZs territorial waters. You’d hope NZ would start a bit of uparming themselves with their fleet, P8s and helos. And having enough personnel to man-woman (lol) all their ships! They might have to keep it pretty quietush to not upset their favourable trade relationship with China.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_713529)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Do not believe any of the AUKUS partners have categorically/formally stated that an appropriate future Canadian and/or New Zealand government could not be included in AUKUS Pillar 2 activities. Hypersonic and counter-hypersonic weapons have future appeal. Additionally, AI, Cyber, Quantum Computing, Space Ops., etc. will prove to be valuable adjunct R&D activities. 🤔

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_713545)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

New Zealand has quite a strong anti-nuclear history and outlook so there maybe an issue with the new nuclear powered subs ever going through their waters. Might have to save some diesel subs and or drones for this. 🙆

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_713561)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

While the west will respect New Zealand’s wishes about no nuclear stuff in there waters, I don’t know if the PLAN will be so kind.
New Zealand’s approach is a great idea and I admire there hope everything will be ok. But just incase it’s handy to have a back up.
Hopefully New Zealand is still far enough away that it avoids any issues.

DJ
DJ (@guest_713631)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I believe NZ has only recently admitted they have ordered mk54 torpedos for their new P8’s. I think the Solomons Islands China naval base scare may have shook them up a little. Not enough to order AShM for them though.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_713533)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

New Zealand has always been protected by Australia.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_713547)
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Absolutely! Our Kiwi cuzzies! Just wish their defences were a touch stronger but that’s their business.

Tom
Tom (@guest_714015)
1 year ago

Does the UK have/make aversion of these?

DJ
DJ (@guest_714236)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom

UK (RN) uses torpedo tube launched submarine version of Tomahawk. USN uses the VLS submarine version. As far as I am aware, all Tomahawks are built in the US.

DJ
DJ (@guest_714237)
1 year ago
Reply to  DJ

US also uses non submarine (surface) launch version, such as just ordered by Australia. UK doesn’t.

Ben
Ben (@guest_743817)
10 months ago

Isn’t it strange that America is prepared to give 200 Tomahawks to Australia for a war it wouldn’t fight on its own whilst equivocating about sending equivalent weapons to Ukraine