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U.S. to deploy Tomahawk anti-ship missiles on submarines to counter China

U.S. to deploy Tomahawk anti-ship missiles on submarines to counter China US Navy to install Tomahawk missiles on submarines to counter Beijing (RTX Corp)
Author: Maria Kholina

The U.S. Navy is set to equip its submarines with Tomahawk anti-ship missiles in 2024, aiming to assert dominance in the Pacific, particularly around Taiwan, according to Bloomberg.

The anti-ship version of the Tomahawk missile, known as the Tomahawk Maritime Strike, traditionally used for ground attacks, is scheduled to be deployed after October 1, 2024. The latest models will undergo modifications with a new guidance system, enabling them to target mobile sea-based objectives.

These missiles will be deployed on Los Angeles-class and Virginia-class submarines, capable of carrying up to 12 Tomahawks, with some modified versions of the Virginia-class capable of carrying up to 40.

According to Brent Sedler, a senior researcher in naval warfare and advanced technologies, the missiles have a range of up to 1600 kilometers.

"The long range provides greater stand-off from Chinese anti-access and area-denial missile forces, and this would complicate Chinese planning for a blockade/invasion of Taiwan. More work is needed to develop how these missile will be employed to overwhelm China’s forces and take out enough ships to be war-winning," he said.

It is claimed that these new maritime strike missiles align with the Pentagon's plan to deploy thousands of drones in the Indo-Pacific region from February to August 2025 to counteract China.

U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan

One of the main causes of the conflict between China and the U.S. is Taiwan. Beijing considers the island a separatist province that will eventually come back under its control. However, Taiwan sees itself as an independent country with a separate economy and democratically elected leaders.

In turn, the U.S. provides assistance to Taiwan. Against this backdrop, tensions have escalated between Washington and Beijing.

During a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping called on him to stop arming Taiwan.

Recently, the island nation reported a resumption of Chinese military activity near the island. Nine Chinese aircraft and several ships crossed the middle of the strait, serving as a hypothetical border.