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UK to equip submarines with upgraded Tomahawk missiles

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The British Ministry of Defence has announced that it will integrate upgraded Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles into its Astute-class submarines to address future maritime threats.

The submarines will be armed with enhanced Block V standard missiles, which can strike targets at up to 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers).

According to a press release, defense firms BAE Systems, Babcock International, and Lockheed Martin will provide maintenance and technical support for the 265-million-pound ($333-million) project.

The improved missiles will reportedly be able to travel farther than the previous Block IV iteration while maintaining precision-strike capability.

Due to its modernized in-flight communication and target selection features, it will also be “less vulnerable” to external threats.

The Tomahawk Missile

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is a long-range, subsonic cruise missile used for attacking enemy ground assets.

Its conventional Block IV variant boasts the ability to reprogram the weapon system in-flight via two-way satellite communications.

It is also reportedly capable of loitering over a target area to respond to emerging targets and provide battle damage assessment through high-performance cameras.

In 2017, the Block IV Tomahawk missiles were upgraded to Block V to offer extended range, enhanced navigation and communication systems, and modernized data-link radio.

Providing a Strategic Advantage

British defense procurement minister Jeremy Quin said that integrating “one of the most lethal and precise” weapons into British submarines will help ensure the ability to execute long-range strikes.

Rear Admiral Simon Asquith added that the Tomahawk missile can provide the UK with real strategic and operational advantage due to its “exceptional” range, accuracy, and survivability.

Meanwhile, Defence Equipment & Support official Ed Cutts said that the project would sustain and improve the British armed forces’ already “proven and crucial” operational capability.

He added that the contract would bolster “interoperability with our US allies and the follow-on support arrangements will sustain jobs for UK industry.”

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