Britain's first cruise missile launched

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The Independent Online
A ROYAL NAVY submarine, HMS Splendid, was due to launch Britain's first armed cruise missile off California yesterday. The Defence Ministry is buying 65 Tomahawk missiles in a pounds 190m project, making Britain the only country apart from the US to have them.

The acquisition and yesterday's test firing with a conventional warhead were hailed by the Government as a welcome addition to its arsenal, although the launch raised concern among arms-control campaigners. "We consider this an unnecessary escalation in Britain's arsenal," said the National Peace Council.

The land-attack missile has a 1,000-mile range. The test weapon was due to fly 500 miles before diving on to its target on San Clemente island, 60 miles from San Diego.

The first missiles are expected to be operational by the end of the year, armed with conventional warheads.