Tomahawk missile demonstrates capabilities in US Navy test

The U.S. Navy together with Raytheon as the developer completed two flight tests of the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile to demonstrate how missions can now be planned in real time to strike time-sensitive targets.

Two Tomahawk missiles containing inert warheads were launched from the vertical launch system of USS Pinckney (DDG 91) at the Naval Air Systems Command sea test range off the Southern California coast.

The first test was planned in real time by the crew of the USS Pinckney, who used the launch platform mission planning (LPMP) capability of the tactical tomahawk weapons control system, based on data provided by the United States Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. The Tomahawk missile followed a pre-planned route until the conclusion of the test.

In the second test, mission planners again used the dynamic LPMP capability to generate a longer-duration mission that also concluded with a terminal dive maneuver against the target.

According to Raytheon, this test also validated missile performance for a long-duration mission. Tomahawk has a range of 1,000 statute miles and can defeat heavily defended targets anywhere on Earth.

Tomahawk Block IV is the latest improvement of the missile which uses two-way satellite communications to reprogram the missile in-flight to a new aimpoint or new preplanned mission. Operators can also send a new mission to the missile en route to a new target, and missile health and status messages during the flight.

“Tomahawk’s tactics and procedures have evolved to support the new missions that are being assigned to the weapon,” said Dave Adams, senior program director for Tomahawk at Raytheon Missile Systems. “Tomahawk continues to serve and rapidly deliver urgently needed capabilities to the fleet.”