How much can one Tomahawk cost for Japan? 

The Japanese government has been negotiating with the US for several weeks about the possible purchase of 400 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida confirmed the fact of such negotiations during his speech before the lower house of the parliament.

The head of the Japanese government did not disclose the details, taking into account “national security considerations.” However, it is known that Japan has already budgeted 1.5 billion dollars to purchase a large batch of long-range cruise missiles in the budget for next year. This is stated in the publication of the French portal Opex360.

Here, French journalists draw attention primarily to changes in Japan’s defense doctrine, which in particular allow “external deployment” of units of the Self-Defense Forces for collective self-defense against an aggressor.

Also, such changes allow for using long-range cruise missiles precisely as a preventive deterrence or a retaliatory strike. The country’s defense doctrine still excludes a preventive strike with long-range missiles from Japan. 

Interestingly, the Japanese see a direct threat from China and the Russian Federation, which, using the example of Ukraine, “has shown readiness to use military force in the Pacific Ocean as well.”

In this case, we are also interested in the probable cost of the Tomahawk-type missile defense system, which Japan will probably have to pay in the event that the negotiations with the USA are successful.

Suppose it is assumed that the 1.5 billion dollars stated above are all potential expenditures to purchase missiles. In that case, it turns out that one Tomahawk for Japan will cost at least 4 million dollars per unit. But this is a minimum estimate based on the fact that 1.5 billion dollars can be a tranche only for the first batch of such missiles.

Launcher of the ground version of the Tomahawk, which was in service until 1991 – BGM-109G Gryphon (GLCM), archive images from open sources

For comparison, in the 2022 fiscal year, the “ceiling” of the cost of one Tomahawk was at least $2 million per unit, according to the December 2022 sample contract for producing 111 such missiles – $1.5 million per unit.

But here, it is worth making a correction to the fact that until now, Tomahawk was almost not sold for export; such a missile is in service only with the US Navy and the fleet of Great Britain.

The launch of the Tomahawk Block V missile from the Arleigh Burke destroyer