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Japan to buy about 500 Tomahawk cruise missiles from US.

| 2023

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said on Tuesday, February 14, that Japan plans to buy all the Tomahawk cruise missiles it is seeking from the United States in one go in fiscal 2023 rather than over several years as initially planned, Kyodo News reported on February 14.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001

Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile (Picture source: Wikipedia/Raytheon)

Japan has been considering purchasing up to about 500 Tomahawks, according to a government source. Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, speaking at a press conference, did not give a reason for the change of plan or say how many of the U.S.-developed long-range missiles the government would buy, saying only that it is eyeing procuring "all of the required quantity" in the year starting April, Kyodo News writes.

The announcement came amid China's military buildup and the North Korean missile and nuclear threats. Indeed, the documents said Tomahawk missiles, with a strike range of about 1,600 kilometers, thus covering Chinese coastal areas, would underpin the capabilities for striking targets in enemy territory in the event of emergencies until Japan deploys home-made missiles.

A draft initial budget for fiscal 2023, decided by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet in December, said 211.3 billion yen ($1.6 billion) will be set aside for the procurement of Tomahawk missiles, Kyodo News reports.

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is a long-range, all-weather, jet-powered, subsonic cruise missile that is primarily used by the U.S. Navy and Royal Navy in ship and submarine-based land-attack operations.

Under contract from the U.S. Navy, the Tomahawk was designed at the APL/JHU in a project led by James Walker near Laurel, Maryland, and was first manufactured by General Dynamics in the 1970s. It was intended to fill the role of a medium- to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a naval surface warfare platform, and featured a modular design accommodating a wide variety of warhead, guidance, and range capabilities. At least six variants and multiple upgraded versions of the TLAM have been added since the original design was introduced, including air-, sub-, and ground-launched variants with conventional and nuclear armaments. In 1992–1994, McDonnell Douglas Corporation was the sole supplier of Tomahawk Missiles and produced Block II and Block III Tomahawk missiles and remanufactured many Tomahawks to Block III specifications. In 1994, Hughes outbid McDonnell Douglas Aerospace to become the sole supplier of Tomahawk missiles. By 2019, the only variants in service were non-nuclear, sea-launched variants manufactured by Raytheon. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense purchased 149 Tomahawk Block IV missiles for $202.3 million. The Tomahawk was most recently used by the U.S. Navy in the 2018 missile strikes against Syria, when 66 missiles were launched targeting alleged Syrian chemical weapons facilities.

They are currently only manufactured at BAE systems in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

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