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Australia is set to purchase 220 cruise missiles, including Tomahawk missiles and technical support, from the US in a deal worth $895m, pending approval from Congress. These missiles will be used by Australia’s newly acquired Virginia-class submarines under the Aukus defence pact, and Defence Minister Richard Marles has described them as a “really important capability” that will help Australia “keep safe” by enabling it “to reach out beyond our shores further.” The sale will also allow Australia to “improve interoperability with US maritime forces and other allied forces as well as its ability to contribute to missions of mutual interest,” according to the Pentagon. The missiles could be deployed on Australia’s Hobart-class destroyers before the arrival of the Aukus submarines, according to ABC. The Aukus defence pact, which involves the US, UK, and Australia, is designed to confront Chinese military expansion in the region, but has been criticised by China as “risking a new arms race and nuclear proliferation,” and by some senior Australian political figures, including former prime ministers Paul Keating and Malcolm Turnbull.

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