Navy demonstrates new reconnaissance, redirection potential of Tomahawk missile

Navy demonstrates new reconnaissance, redirection potential of Tomahawk missile.
Navy demonstrates new reconnaissance, redirection potential of Tomahawk missile.
The U.S. Navy has teamed up with defense contractor Raytheon for successful tests showing that a Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile can take a reconnaissance photo inflight and then follow orders to re-target; during the test, a missile launched from the USS Gridley guided missile destroyer used an onboard camera to capture battle damage indication imagery and then to transmit the image back to fleet headquarters via its two-way UHF SATCOM datalink.

After the image was taken, the Tomahawk missile entered a loiter pattern to await further instructions from base.

Strike controllers at the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain retargeted the missile to a new aim point on the Navy's bombing range at San Nicolas Island, off the coast of southern California. The missile successfully 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," Dave Adams, Raytheon’s Tomahawk senior program director, said.

The test was designed to show that the Tomahawk missile's strike controllers could be located at multiple fleet headquarters and still 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," Adams said. "No other weapon has this capability."

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