UK navy ships to be armed with advanced long-range strike missiles

Britain's cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street, London

LONDON (Reuters) - British navy frigates and destroyers will be given advanced long-range anti-ship missiles in a new deal agreed by defence minister Ben Wallace with Norway announced on Wednesday.

The Naval Strike Missiles made by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA will be used on eleven British Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement.

Measuring nearly 4 metres long, the missiles can strike enemy ships and targets on land at distances of more than 100 nautical miles (115 miles) at subsonic speeds, the MoD said.

The Naval Strike Missiles will replace the Harpoon surface-to-surface weapon due to go out of service in 2023.

"We have a long history of defence cooperation with Norway," Wallace said on a visit to the country. "This new agreement cements our partnership with one of our closest allies, whilst strengthening our Royal Navy with a new surface to surface strike capability."

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)