Raytheon Set to Modernize Navy’s Tomahawks During Recertification
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — Raytheon Missile Co. is planning to upgrade some of the Navy’s Tomahawk cruise missiles with a maritime strike capability when the missiles come up for their recertification beginning in 2019. The company considers a Tomahawk with moving-target capability to be a weapon that will add value to the Navy’s drive to increase and distribute the lethality of its fleet.
The Block IV version of the Tomahawk is a net-enabled weapon that can loiter and be retargeted in flight via a two-way data link. It is guided by a jam-resistant Global Positioning System and delivers a unitary warhead. It is approaching the end of its 15-year warranty period and the Navy will be funding a recertification to extend the warranty to the missile’s full 30-year life this year. The recertified missiles will return to the fleet beginning in 2020.
The price of a Block IV, which is in production through 2019, is approximately $1.1 million. Raytheon has not yet priced out the recertification, but the company’s estimate is one-quarter to one-third of the cost of a new missile, Dave Adams, senior program director for cruise missile programs, told reporters Jan. 11 at the Surface Navy Association National Symposium.
The Block IV, which entered service in 2004, has gone through two major upgrades in the years since, with the maritime strike capability becoming a third, said Christian Sprinkle, Raytheon’s business development director for the Tomahawk.
The Tomahawk Strike Missile, as the modified Block IV might be called, features enhanced communications and navigation suites and sensors to home in on a moving target at sea. The company is starting discussions to determine which sensors will be included in the terminal seeker head, Adams said, with the likely choice being a combination of an active and a passive sensor.
“The Navy is very focused on the modernization and recertification of the Tomahawk,” Adams said.
Retired Vice Adm. Thomas Copeman, former commander, Naval Surface Forces and now a Raytheon official, called the Tomahawk Strike Missile a “poster child” for the Navy’s initiative to increase the distributed lethality of the fleet — greatly the number of ships armed with a long-range anti-ship missile — saying then the missile would represent an “exponential increase in the striking power of the U.S. Navy.”
In another development, the Navy and Raytheon have demonstrated the ability of a ship’s crew to perform Launch Platform Mission Planning (LPMP), complete mission planning in real time to hit a time-sensitive target. Mission planning normally is conducted by shore-based mission planners. In November, the crew of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Pinckney fired two Tomahawks on successive days using LPMP, which Adams said enables “better, faster, and more efficient mission planning.”