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US Navy begins Tomahawk missile training courses for Japanese.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the Japanese MoD on March 28, 2024, training courses for Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel on the Tomahawk missile began on the 25th of this month at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A Tomahawk missile launched from the USS Sterett. (Picture source: US DoD)

On January 18, 2024, Japan's Ministry of Defense announced a formal contract worth about $1.7 billion with the U.S. government to acquire up to 400 U.S.-made long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles.

This purchase is part of a broader defense strategy to bolster Japan's counterstrike capability, amid concerns over the military advancements of regional neighbors such as Russia, China, and North Korea, all of whom are advancing their hypersonic weapon programs.

The deal includes a mix of 200 Block IV missiles and 200 upgraded Block V versions, which can be launched from warships to hit targets 1,000 miles away. The Block IV variant, officially known as the Tactical Tomahawk, boasts a range of 1,600 km and features improvements over its predecessor, such as longer striking range and enhanced loitering capabilities.

The Block V variant introduces a navigation/communications package for better navigation and more reliable communications, with subvariants designed for targeting moving maritime targets and incorporating a new multi-effects lethal package.

This acquisition is set against a backdrop of Japan's perceived need to enhance its defense posture in response to regional security challenges. Japan plans to double its annual defense spending to approximately 10 trillion yen ($68 billion) by 2027, aiming to become the world's third-largest military spender after the United States and China.

The Tomahawk missiles are expected to serve as a "bridge" until Japan can deploy domestically produced missiles, enhancing the Japan Self-Defense Forces' long-range strike capabilities.

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