UK — Navy sub fires first Tomahawk missile

The first of the Roy­al Navy’s new attack sub­marines, HMS Astute, has blast­ed Tom­a­hawk mis­siles far across the North Amer­i­can skies as part of her first test fir­ing mis­sion.

 -
The first Tom­a­hawk cruise mis­sile to be launched from HMS Astute heads sky­wards [Pic­ture: Pet­ty Offi­cer (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Paul Punter, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The 5.5‑metre-long cruise mis­sile weighs 1,300kg and has a range of more than 1,000 miles (1,600km). In the fir­ing tests this month the Tom­a­hawk weapons rock­et­ed from HMS Astute at up to 550 miles per hour (885km/h) across the Gulf of Mex­i­co.

HMS Astute’s Com­mand­ing Offi­cer, Com­man­der Iain Breck­en­ridge, said:

“This first-of-class fir­ing proves that Astute is a tru­ly capa­ble sub­ma­rine. It means that the UK Sub­ma­rine Ser­vice will be able to pro­vide the UK’s strike capa­bil­i­ty for many years to come.”

HMS Astute is in the Gulf of Mex­i­co for the first test run of her sys­tem. She has the largest weapon-car­ry­ing capac­i­ty of all the Roy­al Navy’s attack sub­marines and can hold a com­bi­na­tion of up to 38 Tom­a­hawk mis­siles and Spearfish tor­pe­does.

See Relat­ed Links to watch video footage of the first launch of a Tom­a­hawk mis­sile from HMS Astute.

 -
A Tom­a­hawk mis­sile is pre­pared for launch on board HMS Astute [Pic­ture: Pet­ty Offi­cer (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Paul Punter, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The UK is the only coun­try sup­plied with the Tom­a­hawk tech­nol­o­gy by the USA, and has been in oper­a­tion since 1999. Mis­siles have been launched from var­i­ous sub­marines to sup­port oper­a­tions in Afghanistan, Iraq and, most recent­ly, Libya.

The Astute Class of nuclear-pow­ered attack sub­marines are the most tech­no­log­i­cal­ly-advanced sub­marines to serve with the Roy­al Navy and will pro­gres­sive­ly replace the Trafal­gar Class cur­rent­ly in ser­vice.

They have been designed with mod­ern oper­a­tions in mind and are vast­ly dif­fer­ent in shape, size, capac­i­ty and capa­bil­i­ty to their pre­de­ces­sors.

Com­man­der Breck­en­ridge said:

“The most notice­able dif­fer­ence for the ship’s com­pa­ny is that for the first time every­one has their own bunk. Design changes that will make an oper­a­tional dif­fer­ence include the fact that we have a reac­tor that will nev­er need to be refu­elled in the boat’s 25-year life.

 -
HMS Astute sails from Kings Bay Naval Sub­ma­rine Base, Geor­gia, USA [Pic­ture: Pet­ty Offi­cer (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Paul Punter, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

“We have optron­ic masts instead of tra­di­tion­al periscopes, which means we have saved lots of space in the con­trol room as well as hav­ing the ben­e­fit of dig­i­tal cam­eras instead of tra­di­tion­al opti­cal periscopes.”

The Astute Class is designed to per­form a num­ber of roles includ­ing anti-sub­ma­rine and sur­face ship war­fare, and gath­er­ing intel­li­gence to pro­tect the UK’s strate­gic deter­rent and sur­face ship­ping. It can also attack tar­gets on land with Tom­a­hawk guid­ed mis­siles.

The First of Class, HMS Astute was com­mis­sioned into the Roy­al Navy on 27 August 2010 and is cur­rent­ly under­tak­ing a peri­od of exten­sive sea tri­als before she is hand­ed over for oper­a­tional ser­vice.

She will con­tin­ue her tri­als in the USA until the ear­ly spring and will return to the UK for train­ing before her first oper­a­tional deploy­ment.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →