A Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile successfully showed it can take a reconnaissance photo and follow orders to re-target in mid-flight during a test conducted by the U.S. Navy and Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN).
During the test, a missile launched from the guided missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) used its onboard camera to capture battle damage indication imagery and then transmitted the image to fleet headquarters via its two-way UHF SATCOM datalink. The missile then entered a loiter pattern to await further instructions.
Meanwhile, strike controllers at the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain retargeted the missile to a new aim point on the Navy’s range at San Nicolas Island, off the coast of southern California. The missile performed a vertical dive and struck the designated target.
"We have once again proven the flexibility and utility of the Tomahawk Block IV missile, which has an unprecedented record of reliability and combat success." said Dave Adams, Raytheon Tomahawk senior program director.
The test was designed to show that the missile’s strike controllers, located at multiple fleet headquarters, can control and redirect multiple missiles simultaneously. To reduce testing costs, only one of the large salvo of missiles was a live launch. The rest were flown via computer simulation through various missions directed by forward deployed strike controllers.
"Tomahawk continues to be the weapon of choice for combatant commanders requiring very long range, precision strike, with the flexibility to loiter and re-direct after launch," said Adams. "No other weapon has this capability."