Navy’s Tomahawk Life-Extension to Include Maritime Strike Mode
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s plan to recertify its arsenal of Block IV Tomahawk Land-Attack Missiles will include upgrades to give the missiles a maritime strike capability, a Raytheon official said.
The upgrades will include navigation and communication modifications and a multimode terminal guidance sensor package that will allow the Tomahawk to strike moving targets at sea, said Dave Adams, Raytheon’s Tomahawk program director in a Sept. 7 interview. The missile still would include a satellite-connected data link to allow the controller to modify the target or mission profile of the missile.
The Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) will include sensors in the nose of the missile to allow the missile to home in on its target in the terminal phase of its mission. Adams was not at liberty to discuss the sensors or their suppliers, but confirmed that the shape of the missile’s nose would not be different from the current Block IV. A change in shape would require expensive testing to ensure that the missile could safely be launched from a ship or submarine, he said.
As the Navy begins turning in Tomahawks to Raytheon for recertification in 2019 after their 15-year shelf life, the missiles will be upgraded with the latest upgrades for operating in a contested environment. Beginning in 2022, those upgrades will include the MST modifications.
Raytheon has tested and matured the multimode sensor package in a surrogate aircraft.
The $119 million MST contract awarded by the Navy on Aug. 30 funds the first two-year part of engineering and manufacturing development of the missile modifications, specifically integration of the seeker suite and processing capabilities.
The company has built more than 4,000 Block IV Tomahawk missiles since production began in 2004.