Does the Royal Australian Navy need Tomahawk missiles? | The Strategist – The Strategist


In my most recent article, I noted that the Department of Defence appears to be in the early stages of identifying a ship-launched land-attack missile for acquisition. The government assessed in its 2020 defence strategic update that it is ‘essential that the ADF grow its self-reliant ability to deliver deterrent effects’. A recent government announcement hints at acquiring a weapon like the Tomahawk land-attack missile, or TLAM. Could it provide a deterrent? Or, if it failed as a deterrent, could it provide a robust strike option? I’m sceptical. (For some context on the Australian Defence Force and strike, see my earlier pieces.)

The TLAM or a similar weapon might appear to be a boost for the ADF. It would be a new capability in an area where the ADF sorely needs more tools. The Royal Australian Navy currently doesn’t have a land-strike capability, beyond the very limited effect provided by its guns and the Harpoon anti-ship missile. Even the Royal Australian Air Force has very few arrows in its strike quiver. The land-strike role was performed for a long time by its F-111s. When they were retired, the government acquired the JASSM strike missile and integrated it into the air force’s F/A-18 A/B ‘classic’ Hornet fleet as a partial replacement. Since the JASSM hasn’t been integrated into any other
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