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World-Class Missile Achieves In-Service Date

A new missile that will give the Royal Navy world-class capability in delivering precision attack at long range has achieved its in-service date three months earlier than planned and within budget.

The new smart Block IV Tomahawk long-range land attack missile (TLAM) was purchased from the US government four years ago. The first batch out of a total of 64 were delivered in October 2007 and the remaining missiles will be delivered progressively over the next few months. Delivery should be complete by July 2009.

TLAM Block IV has considerably more capability than TLAM Block III. The missiles are able to fly further and strike targets with even greater precision. It gives enormous flexibility to forces with the ability to pre-position the missile covertly in attack submarines. They also incorporate the latest computer technology, giving them the ability to re-target or abort missions in flight and to take their own images of the battlefield. Although this is a US missile, UK firms are playing key roles in providing electronic and submarine upgrades. The unique capability is the result of close cooperation between the US and the UK – the only nation outside the US to have the TLAM. The missiles will be capable of being fired from our current Trafalgar Class attack submarines as well as from the new Astute Class submarines when they enter service.

The missile was first successfully test fired from a Royal Navy submarine last June.

Baroness Taylor, Minister for Defence Equipment & Support, said: “These missiles extend the Royal Navy’s world class capability to deliver long range precision attacks covertly from submarines. This is a real boost to the Navy’s firepower, and it is a testament to the hard work of MoD and industry that we are able to bring this into service early and within budget.”

Torbay is the first submarine to be operationally equipped with them.

4th Apr 2008

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