The U.S. Marines will set up a battalion tasked with launching land-based Tomahawk cruise missiles within one of its regiments by 2030, an official familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
The new artillery battalion will belong to the 11th Marine Regiment based in California, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. With the unit's creation, the U.S. military is unlikely to deploy such long-range missiles to Japan.
In the face of China's growing military power and North Korea's missile and nuclear threat, Japan has decided to acquire "counterstrike capabilities" and plans to buy 400 Tomahawks, which have a strike range of about 1,600 kilometers, from the United States.
The missiles Japan plans to buy are already in use by the U.S. Navy and are designed to be launched from ships and submarines.
In March last year, the United States established a Marine Littoral Regiment in Hawaii and is considering creating another one in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture near Taiwan by 2025.
Consisting of about 2,000 personnel per unit, MLRs are capable of flexibly moving between remote islands. The new battalion is expected to use mobile launchers for Tomahawks to enable it to work closely with MLRs.