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US Marines to acquire land-based Tomahawk missiles

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US Marines to acquire land-based Tomahawk missiles​

The US Marine Corps is moving closer to acquiring land-based Tomahawk missiles for use as a powerful anti-ship missile against large surface combatants.

Last month, the US Navy awarded a $217 million contract to Raytheon Missiles and Defense for 154 Tomahawk Block V cruise missiles, with 70 missiles allotted to the navy, 54 to the marines and 30 to the US Army.

The acquisition of land-based TLAM missiles is part of the USMC’s Long-Range Fires program, which aims to provide and sustain fully integrated ground-based long-range anti-ship and land-attack weapon systems to increase the lethality of the force.

Other components of the program include the HIMARS multiple rocket launcher system (MLRS) and fire direction & naval fires command and control. Also, as the TLAM is based on a common system used by the US Army and US Navy, this simplifies integration and logistics.

This capability reflects the USMC’s dispersed operations doctrine, which employs small, dispersed land and sea detachments to threaten the ability of adversary forces to concentrate from within their anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) umbrella. Expeditionary bases may be used to position USMC TLAM batteries, which would then be integrated with USN surface combatant sensors and weapons systems.

Land-based launchers provide better, more hardened assets than ship-based systems, increased effectiveness through greater available firepower and less cost as a deployed When fielded in a sovereign country’s territory they make a pre-emptive strike against them a significant escalation. They could also complement naval and air power by providing a near-constant presence in contested areas and providing operational and tactical cover for freedom of maneuver.


 

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