Putin alert: UK in £265m upgrade to Royal Navy’s arsenal with 570mph US Tomahawk missiles

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The Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, (TLAM) will benefit from the bumper upgrade on the UK’s submarine fleet, making Britain more effective in deterring threats. The contract to upgrade the weapons system has been signed with the US Government which will see technical and maintenance support across various UK sites belonging to BAE Systems, Babcock International and Lockheed Martin. The Royal Navy’s Astute-Class submarines will be armed with an enhanced Block V standard missile, capable of striking severe threats at a range of up to 1,000 miles.

The newly upgraded missiles will enjoy a longer range than their predecessor the Block IV variant, making the missile capable of precision strike ability with unmatched range and accuracy.

New technology within the upgrade will also make the weapons resistant to counter-attacks or cyber-interference and will benefit from modern in-flight communication and target selection.

Weighing in at 2,200kg a piece, and measuring over 5 meters in length, the Tomahawk first entered service in 1998.

The missiles are capable of hitting land targets following a sea launch within minutes due to high subsonic speeds.

Speaking of the upgrade, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said: “This upgrade will equip our Astute-Class attack submarines with one of the most lethal and precise long-range strike weapons.

“Enhancing this cutting-edge missile system will ensure the UK can strike severe threats up to 1,000 miles away.”

The Tomahawk missiles will be upgraded as part of a Foreign Military Sale with the US Government, which was negotiated by the MOD’s procurement arm, Defence Equipment and Support and will be active from July.

Making use of existing US research and expertise on the upgraded missile, the contract will mean the UK continues to receive full access to the US Tomahawk programme, support package and upgrades.

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