Surface Forces: Spain Goes Long


p> June 10, 2008:  Spain is arming its largest warships with long range weapons it had long insisted it would never use. Maybe not, but Spain is buying 20 U.S. RGM-109E Block IV Surface Ship Vertical Launched Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, plus five sets of control equipment. Spain will use the Tomahawks in its four F-100 class frigates.  This Tomahawk weighs 1.2 ton, is 18 feet long, has a range 1,600 kilometers, getting there at a speed of 600-900 kilometers an hour, flying at an altitude of 50-100 feet and propelled by a jet engine generating only 600 pounds of thrust. Accuracy is on a par with JDAM (about 30 feet). 


The 6,000 ton F100 frigates have Aegis radar systems (controlling Standard and Sea Sparrow missiles), and 48 Mark-41 vertical launch cells for missiles. The ships also carry eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, a 127mm gun, and a short-range anti-missile defense system. Each F-100 costs about half a billion dollars. These ships entered service between 2002-2006. The F-100s could also be equipped to use the anti-missile version of the Standard missile, but Spain has denied any interest in that, so far.


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