The US Navy has recently contracted the manufacturer of Tomahawk missiles to begin integrating a new multi-mode seeker into the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile which will allow the weapon to engage moving maritime targets.
Under a contract worth $119 million, Raytheon is expected to deliver this new capability for the Tomahawks by 2022.
The new seeker development is carried out under the navy’s Rapid Deployment Capability program – a tool that gives the navy “all available means to deliver the needed capability as expeditiously as possible”.
“The U.S. Navy and Raytheon are working closely together to further enhance this modern missile, keeping Tomahawk in the fleet for decades to come,” said Capt. Mark Johnson, Tomahawk program manager at U.S. Naval Air Systems Command. “No other weapon on earth can match this cruise missile’s capability. Proven thousands of times in combat, Tomahawk is the nation’s weapon of choice.”
Launched from ships or submarines, the Tomahawk missile can fly into heavily defended airspace 1,000 statute miles away to conduct precise strikes on high-value targets with minimal collateral damage.
“Tomahawk’s new multi-mode seeker will add even more capability to this already advanced missile,” said Dave Adams, Raytheon Tomahawk program director. “Tomahawk is second to none in destroying stationary land targets, and soon the weapon will defeat moving maritime targets. Enemy vessels at sea will not elude Tomahawk.”
Raytheon is already modernizing Tomahawk’s radio suite and software under a separate Navy contract. Recertification on the first Tomahawk Block IVs is set to begin in 2019. That process will extend Tomahawk’s service life for 15 years and enable Raytheon to make enhancements to the missile.