Raytheon Company and the U.S. Navy have successfully tested communications advancements to the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile.
During a Feb. 19 flight test, a Raytheon-built Tomahawk Block IV missile, launched from the USS Sterett, flew a preprogrammed route while receiving updates from a simulated maritime operations center and from advanced off-board sensors updating the missile’s target location. Throughout the flight, the missile maintained communications with all the command and control assets and provided updates on its location before hitting the target.
“Working closely with our U.S. Navy partner, we continue to modernize Tomahawk to stay ahead of the escalating threat,” said Roy Donelson, Raytheon Tomahawk program director. “By making key changes to the way the operators use sensors and communications assets, we can now provide the fleet with even more dynamic targeting capabilities for Tomahawk.”
The flight test further highlighted the importance of Tomahawk’s loitering capability. As targets change in the battlespace, the missile can be redirected to a new aim point.
“Tomahawk’s long range gives our commanders increased flexibility in theatre,” said Capt. Joe Mauser, U.S. Navy Tomahawk program manager. “When our ships and submarines are within 100 miles of a coastline, Tomahawks can fly deep inland and strike from a direction the enemy might not suspect.”
With a range of approximately 1,000 statute miles, the Tomahawk Block IV missile is a surface- and submarine-launched precision strike stand-off weapon. Tomahawk is designed for long-range precision strike missions against high-value and heavily defended targets. More than 2,000 Tomahawks have been employed in combat. More than 500 Tomahawk flight and production validation tests have been completed. The missile is integrated on all major U.S. surface combatants, as well as U.S. and U.K. sub-surface platforms, including the Los Angeles, Virginia, Ohio, Astute and Trafalgar class submarines.
|USS STERRET SPECIFICATIONS|
|Length||155.3 m overall|
|Draught||9.4 m maximum|
|Displacement||6,600 tons light,
9,200 tons full,
2,600 tons dead
|Complement||32 officers, 348 enlisted|
|Aircraft||Aircraft carried: 2 × SH-60 Sea Hawk|
Press Release, February 28, 2014; Image: Wikimedia