The US State Department has approved a potential sale of Tomahawk Block V and Block IV missiles to Australia for an estimated $895 million.
Australia requested to buy up to 200 Tomahawk Block V and up to 20 Tomahawk Block IV (RGM-109E) missiles. The sale would also include unscheduled missile maintenance, spares, training and other related services.
Australia said in 2021 it would buy Tomahawk cruise missiles that would be fielded on the Royal Australian Navy’s new Hobart-class air warfare destroyers, giving them the ability to strike land targets at greater distances, with better precision.
Block V Tomahawks feature a navigation/communications upgrade that maintains the capability for in-flight target updates and improved navigation.
The Block Va variant will introduce a Tomahawk missile capable of hitting moving targets at sea, while the Block Vb will be capable of hitting more diverse land targets. Designed to incorporate both blast-fragmentation and enhanced penetration capabilities, the Block Vb JMEWS was first tested by the navy in 2010.
Future Block V capabilities will add to the NAV/COMMs upgrade and include the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) variant, designated as Block Va; and the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS), designated as Block Vb.
“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,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
Should a definitive deal be agreed, the prime US contractor would be Raytheon Missiles and Defense.