UK Astute-class subs get reprogrammable in-flight Tomahawk V: 1600+km

LONDON ($1=0.80 British Pounds) — The British submarines of armament to the Royal Navy Astute-class will be equipped with modernized American missiles Tomahawk Land Attack Block V is clear from the announced intentions of the British Ministry of Defense. “Tomahawk Land Attack Block V will deal with future naval threats,” the ministry said in a statement.

Top 5 best submarines in the world-Astute class, UK
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Tomahawk Land Attack Block V has a significantly increased range from its previous versions. According to officially published characteristics, the range of the modernized American missile is 1000 miles [1609 kilometers]. BAE Systems, Babcock International, and Lockheed Martin are expected to be the contractors and key companies ensuring the integration and maintenance of missiles in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy submarines. According to British media reports, the deal is worth $ 333 million.

The integration of Tomahawk Land Attack Block V into British Astute-class submarines will ensure “their precise striking power”. Experts say they [missiles] are vulnerable to external threats due to the improved communication system used during the flight.

The older version of the missile, Block IV, can reprogram its weapon system in-flight using two-way satellite communications. The same feature is retained in the version that the UK will buy. Block V has another ability that distinguishes it from most of this class of missiles – its ability to loitering over the target area, as well as to assess the damage inflicted in battle.

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Photo credit: Wikiepdia

In Britain, Defense Department officials have expressed satisfaction with the decision to acquire the modernized US missile. Jeremy Quinn, Britain’s defense minister, said the Royal Navy’s submarines would have “one of the deadliest and most accurate weapons”. Rear Admiral Simon Asquith thinks the submarines will gain a strategic and operational advantage, and Ed Cutts, a British Defense Department official, praised the missiles as “proven in decisive battles”.

About Tomahawk missiles

Tomahawk is a cruise missile that, according to the modification, can be launched from the sea or land, respectively from a ship, submarine, or surface-to-surface missile system. Block V Tactical Tomahawk differs from its predecessors mainly in the increased range of 1666+ km.

After launch, the rocket is powered by a Williams International F107-WR-402 turbofan engine, which uses a TH-dimer fuel and a solid-fuel rocket booster. Tomahawk’s wingspan is 8 ft 9 in [2.67 m]. The rocket flies at an altitude of 98-164 ft [30-50 m] AGL and develops a subsonic speed of Mach 0.74. which is about 567.7 mph [493.3 kn; 913.6 km / h]. The missile guidance system includes the integration of several key systems: GPS, INS, TERCOM, DSMAC, and active radar homing [RGM / UGM-109B]. The warhead is conventional: 1,000 pounds [450 kg] high explosive or submunition dispenser with BLU-97 / B Combined Effects Bomb or PBXN.

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PBXN-9 is a PBX or polymer-bonded explosive warhead, also called PBX or plastic-bonded explosive. This type of explosive uses a very small amount of synthetic polymer and is part of the explosive powder in the charge matrix. It has been developed since the early 1950s, but only in the 1960s and 1970s did it find application in the warheads of various projectiles.

A quick look shows that the PBX is widely used in various warheads, some high-speed missiles, and projectiles, such as nuclear W62, W70, W68, W79, W82, and many others. PBX is found in the Mk-48 torpedo, as well as in the jet-powered supersonic cruise missile BGM-109 Tomahawk and short-range AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. In recent years, PBX warheads have found wide application in the development of naval artillery missiles.

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