Guam naval base may host the US land-based Tomahawk and SM-6

The US military is prepping to roll out its new medium-range capability [MRC], or Typhon, into the Indo-Pacific in the coming year. This news comes straight from the regional commander, Gen. Charles Flynn. 

Guam naval base may host the US land-based Tomahawk and SM-6
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

According to Flynn, the Typhon has already undergone successful testing. Whilst he was discreet about the specifics of the deployment, he did confirm the existence of “one or two batteries” of the system. 

Interestingly enough, we can expect the mainland US to forgo hosting Typhon. Instead, indicators point to either the naval base on Guam or perhaps an overseas location, if an agreement can be made with another nation. 

Guam naval base may host the US land-based Tomahawk and SM-6
Photo credit: US Army

It’s relevant to note that prior to 2019 and the US’s withdrawal, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty prohibited the deployment of land-based Tomahawks. The first Tomahawk battery was introduced by the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, California in July. 

In previous public statements, Flynn has echoed sentiments from other officials of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, noting an uptick in regional militaries wanting to train with U.S. forces, which can be attributed to China’s progressively bolder actions within the region. 

Last year, Admiral Philip Davidson, the then INDOPACOM commander, suggested to Congress that China might invade Taiwan in as soon as six years. While Flynn didn’t confirm or rule out this possibility over the weekend, he did mention several influencing factors within Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s realm of consideration. 

The Typhon deployment is a critical move in bolstering the US military’s long-range abilities and is expected to complement the upcoming US Precision Strike Missile [PrSM] — projected range: of 650 km, and LRHW hypersonic missile, capable of reaching over 2,875 km. 

As further context, the LHRW hypersonic missile’s planned launch was pushed back from 2023 to the following year. Despite the setback, anticipation remains high for the advent of this technology. 

Coming back to the Typhon or MRC, it’s noteworthy that this system can launch Tomahawk missiles and SM-6 anti-aircraft missiles from its launchers. These have the capability of destroying air targets up to 240 km away and can also engage land and sea targets at distances of up to 460 km. 

A standard Typhon complex battery includes four launchers, a battery control station, a backup unit, and a loading machine.

Why Typhoon MRC matters

The MRC, consisting of launchers, missiles, and a battery operations center, aims to tackle surface threats. This initiative is a crucial part of the Army’s modernization agenda, which revolves around creating and deploying new advanced long-range precision fire capabilities. 

Guam naval base may host the US land-based Tomahawk and SM-6
Photo credit: US Navy

“Our joint efforts with the U.S. Army has allowed us to grasp their essential mission necessities more effectively,” remarked Joe DePietro on December 2022, the general manager and vice president at Lockheed Martin. 

“Our cooperation facilitated the utilization of technology from our array of ships, launchers, and combat systems. This enabled us to envisage, devise, amalgamate, and expediently deliver a solution that fulfills the Army’s mission necessities. We developed new capabilities by integrating current and evolving technology, ensuring our warriors are always battle-ready and one step ahead,” DePietro further added. 

The MRC, developed by Lockheed Martin for RCCTO, is the most recent mission capability aimed at helping the Army evolve into a more agile and versatile multi-domain force. This capability addresses specific threats to penetrate, disintegrate, and exploit targets that are critical to the joint fight, enhancing its overall operational abilities. 

Such capability contributes to the realization of the Army’s modernization ideals, such as speed, range, convergence, air dominance, and overall victory in defeating adversaries. It also provides invaluable support in executing multi-domain operations. 

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