Australia plans to buy 220 cruise missiles from America

Australia plans to purchase hundreds of cruise missiles from the United States after sealing a nuclear submarines deal.

The Pentagon has approved the sale of up to 220 of the Tomahawk missiles at a cost of $1.3 billion.

The planned sale follows the announcement of Australia acquiring nuclear submarines under an alliance with the US and UK, at a cost of up to $368 billion.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said Australia would work closely with the US to boost its missile stocks.

"Making sure we have longer-range strike missiles is a really important capability for the country," he said.

"It enables us to be able to reach out beyond our shores further and that's ultimately how we are able to keep Australia safe."

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the missiles could be fired from Virginia-class submarines Australia was getting under the AUKUS deal.

"We certainly want the best possible capability for the Australian Defence Force so that includes the ability to strike opponents as far away as possible from the Australian mainland," he said.

"The cruise missiles are a critical part of that, as are the submarines that launch them."

Labor luminary Paul Keating blasted the submarines deal, while former senator Doug Cameron warned it stirred significant concerns among rank-and-file party members.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said there was broad support for AUKUS despite the public rebukes.

"My task is to lead Australia in 2023 based upon the advice that we were given, based upon defending Australia's national interest, that's what this deal is," he said.

"There's bipartisan support for it and I do note that it has the unanimous support of my cabinet and my team, we have all come to the same conclusion that this is the right thing to do."

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton described Mr Keating as a "crazy old uncle" but reiterated support for AUKUS.

"We've all been on the end of Paul Keating sprays but it was a special effort this week," he said.

"It is in our country's best interests. That's why we negotiated AUKUS and we will do everything we can to help the government get through the family feud."