The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with the US Government to upgrade the Royal Navy’s (RN) Tomahawk land attack missiles (TLAM).

The $333.60m (£265m) contract is part of a foreign military sale (FMS) with the US Government.

The sale was negotiated by the UK MoD’s procurement unit Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and will be active from July.

As part of the contract, the RN’s Astute-class nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) fleet will be equipped with an enhanced Block V standard missile.

Technical and maintenance support under the contract will be provided at the UK facilities of Babcock International, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin.

The TLAM is approximately 5.6m long, weighs roughly 2,200kg and travels at nearly the speed of sound.

The upgrade will provide improved in-flight navigation and communication as well as make the missiles more capable against future threats.

Additionally, the upgraded Block V missiles will offer enhanced long-range strike capability of up to 1,000 miles.

DE&S weapons director Ed Cutts said: “Not only will this FMS sustain and improve a proven, crucial operational capability for any future conflicts, it will continue to ensure interoperability with our US allies and the follow-on support arrangements will sustain jobs for UK industry.”

According to MoD, the FMS also includes the recertification of existing missiles, missile maintenance, spares, software, hardware, operational flight testing and other training provisions.

Delivery of the first upgraded missile is expected in 2024 and will be followed by the first test-firing, which is planned for 2025.

Tomahawk’s delivery also aligns with the delivery of the last three of seven Astute-class submarines, namely HMS Anson, HMS Agamemnon and HMS Agincourt.

Recently, HMS Anson completed its initial trim dive at Devonshire Dock, England.

The first four submarines, HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful and HMS Audacious, are already in service with the RN.