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American Forces Press Service

Navy Accepts Tactical Tomahawk to Fleet

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2004 - The Navy has placed another arrow in its quiver as it celebrated the acceptance of the Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile to the fleet during ceremonies at the Pentagon today.

John Young, Navy assistant secretary, called the missile system "an elegant solution" that adds new capabilities to the fleet while costing taxpayers half of what the current Tomahawk costs.

The system, built by Raytheon Missile Systems, has already been loaded aboard some ships and has new capabilities that make it far more useful to warfighters, said Navy Capt. Robert E. Novak Jr., Tomahawk program manager. The new "Block 4" missile carries a two-way satellite link that allows operators to reprogram the missile in flight.

"This gives commanders targeting flexibility," Novak said. Commanders can switch the missile from one target to another after launch. The missile can also loiter over an area to wait for higher-value targets.

The new missile also delivers messages of its health and accuracy back to operators and can transmit limited battle damage imagery. The system has enhanced anti-jam global positioning system receivers.

The total buy is up to 2,200 missiles over a five-year cycle. The total cost of the program is $1.6 billion. Each missile will cost about $729,000, down from the $1.4 million each for the Block 3 Tomahawks, now in the fleet.

The Tomahawk cruise missiles are the "weapon of choice" for engaging well- defended targets, Young said. Tomahawks were first used at the beginning of Operation Desert Storm in 1990. They have been used in all conflicts since then, including Operation Iraqi Freedom. The missiles are extremely accurate and have a 1,000-mile range. They hug the earth and travel at 550 miles per hour. This makes them extremely difficult to detect and even harder to shoot down.

The missile can be launched from surface ships or submarines and carries a 1,000-pound warhead.

The missile buy is the first multiyear procurement contract to reach this stage. Young said the Navy-Raytheon team effort made this work well and helped drive down the missile price. He said the working relationship can be used as an example for other similar procurements. He specifically mentioned applying the procurement lessons learned in this buy to the Standard missile. Raytheon Vice President Harry Schulte said the company is also applying them to the Joint Stand-off Weapon.

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