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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.
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."
The U.S. Navy has conducted more than 75 successful Tomahawk flight tests since 2006. The cruise missile has been employed in combat more than 2000 times since it was introduced. Tomahawk is the key weapon used by U.S. and British forces in defeating integrated air defense systems and striking high value fixed and mobile targets in support of national policy.
Raytheon Company, with 2014 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 93 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cybersecurity and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.