Australian Minister of Defense Richard Marles delivers remarks, during a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 13 July 2022. EFE-EPA/SHAWN THEW/FILE

Australia buys US long-range missiles to improve defense capabilities

Sydney, Australia, Aug 21 (EFE).- Australia announced Monday the purchase of 260 long-range missiles manufactured by the United States to improve its defensive capacity amid tension in the Indo-Pacific.

“We are investing in the capabilities our Defense Force needs to keep our adversaries further from our shores and keep Australians safe in the complex and uncertain world we live in,” Defense Minister Richard Marles said in a statement.

The defense ministry announced the acquisition of more than 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles and more than 60 advanced extended-range anti-radiation guided missiles in a purchase valued at AUD 1.7 billion ($1.09 billion.)

The government said the Tomahawk missiles, with a range of 1,500 kilometers and only possessed by the US and the United Kingdom, will be deployed on the Hobart-class destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy.

While the rest of the air-to-ground missiles will be used by Air Force planes.

They will also buy an unknown number of long-range anti-tank missiles, made by local company Varley Rafael Australia, for their Boxer fighting vehicles.

“The war in Ukraine has shown the importance of having not just war stocks, but a domestic missile manufacturing industry,” Marles said.

The purchase announced Monday is part of the Defense Strategic Review through which the country has been accelerating the renewal and improvement of its military capabilities in different fields for years.

This weapons modernization coincides with a time of tension in the strategic Indo-Pacific region as a result of the expansion of Chinese influence in the area and clashes with the US, a historic ally of Canberra.

Australia is part of the AUKUS pact, which unites it with the US and the UK, by which it will acquire nuclear-powered submarines. EFE