Britain’s Royal Navy to boost hunter-killer submarines with Tomahawk missile system


Britain’s Royal Navy has revealed plans to upgrade its hunter-killer submarines with the latest cruise missile system.

Specifically, all Astute-class boats are to receive boosted Tomahawks as part of a £265million upgrade to the submarines’ first long-range weapon.

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) has been upgraded from the existing Block IV model to the V to ensure it remains effective against future threats and defenses.

As a result, Britain’s Block IV stockpile is expected to be upgraded to Block V under a five-year program, starting in July.

HMS Astute fires a Tomahawk at a land target on the range in November 2011. Courtesy of the Royal Navy

The missile is 5.6 meters long and weighs just over two tons. It strikes targets at ranges up to 1,000 miles from its launch platform: historically Swiftsure and Trafalgar-class submarines and, for the past decade, Astute-class boats, based at Faslane.

Among the improvements to the Block V missiles will be the improved ability to block attempts to jam/hijack the Tomahawk of its target.

Along with the upgrade of the missile itself, the control systems on the ships and shore support will also be upgraded to meet the demands and requirements of the upgraded Tomahawk.

The first upgraded Tomahawks will be delivered to the Royal Navy fleet by 2024 with a planned test firing by an Astute-class boat the following year.


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