Raytheon Looking to Next-Generation Long-Range Attack Weapon for Navy
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLNGTON, Va. — Raytheon Missile Co., approaching the end of new production of the Navy’s Tomahawk cruise missile, is looking for ways to keep the production line warm so that the company is in a better position for competing for the Next-Generation Land-Attack Missile (NGLAW). Despite its name, the NGLAW will have a maritime strike capability, as does the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) being built for the U.S. Navy.
Speaking to reporters Jan. 10 at the Surface Navy Association National Symposium, Christian Sprinkle, Raytheon’s senior program director for the Tomahawk, said the line will be busy for a few years recertifying the U.S. Navy and U.K Royal Navy’s Block IV Tactical Tomahawks for additional 15 years of shelf life. An undetermined number of some 3,000 Tactical Tomahawks will be modified into Maritime Strike Tomahawks while going through recertification, at a rate of 200 to 300 per year. The United Kingdom has expressed interest in converting its Block IVs into MSTs.
Raytheon is keeping its options open for Foreign Military Sales of the Tomahawk beyond the United Kingdom.
“We have designed in a capacity for Foreign Military Sales,” Sprinkle said.
He said the company wants to be well positioned in 2030 for the NGLAW program, noting that “we want to have the ability to reconstitute [the production line] if we need it.”
Sprinkle said the current minimum sustaining rate for the Tomahawk production is 196 missiles annually.
“We can produce even less than that (sustainably),” he said, noting that the company is evaluating the number and in six to eight months “before we find that sweet spot is. Now is the time to make that move.”
“With recertification, you don’t need to keep it at 196,” said Chris Daily, Raytheon’s program director.
The Navy has added $2 billion to the Future Years Defense Plan to add MST capabilities to the Tomahawk, including a new radio suite, a multi-mode seeker, M-Code global positioning system. The Joint Multi-Effects Warhead currently is unfunded, but may make the cut in 2018. Raytheon has devoted $55 million in international research and development funds to mature the MST technologies, which the company may leverage in weapons developed by its “new programs division.”
“We’ve made a very robust seeker which can serve the life of the missile,” Sprinkle said. “We have demonstrated an outstanding search and attack capability.”
Raytheon is in the process of retiring the Navy’s Block III Tomahawks — about 1,000 of the existing 4,000 missiles — the last of which will be demilitarized in fiscal 2018.