Report: British Navy Could Run Short Of Tomahawk Missiles

Four days into the operations in Libya, and the British Navy is already thinking about potential supply problems:

The Navy could run out of Tomahawk missiles after a fifth of the Navy stockpile has been used against Libya, sources disclosed yesterday.

Defence insiders say as many as 12 of the weapons have been fired from the hunter-killer submarine Triumph in the past four days.

If this is correct, the Navy will have used up to 20 per cent of its 64 Tomahawks in the opening salvos of the war, leading to fears that it is “burning through” its armoury.

The situation could become an embarrassment for the Government if the submarine were the only vessel within range of a number of targets but could not fulfil the mission.

The submarines are stealthy and can loiter offshore unseen before going to depth to fire the Tomahawks.

The Block Four variant of the missile can travel more than 850 miles, can be retargeted in flight and can loiter above a target for more than two hours.

t is understood that plans are being made either to resupply Triumph or send another Trafalgar-class submarine to the Mediterranean as a substitute.

Triumph can carry up to 25 missiles or torpedoes. It is likely to have been loaded with as many as 20 of the long-range strike weapons. However, it is now likely to have used half its armoury.

The United States, meanwhile, has fired 162 Tomahawks since hostilities began on Saturday.

FILED UNDER: Africa, Military Affairs, World Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    Boeing stock seems to be outperforming the market …

  2. Tony says:

    I don’t want to give the impression that I’m pleased about this (obviously I’m not), but I SAID this would happen a few days back when nobody seemed to be considering it. I said to them, it’s all very well now, I said. But think back to Kosovo.* It’s all Tomohawks and Storm Shadows now, but what’s the bet that if this goes on over a fortnight we’re going to run out of the bloody things.

    *Well before the end of the Kosovo campaign the RAF had basically burned through its supply of PGMs.