The Tomahawk is a mature missile weapons system with Block II and III, C (unitary warhead) and D (bomblet dispersion) versions in fleet use. These two variants of Tomahawk cruise missile are distinguished by their warhead; TLAM-C has a conventional unitary warhead, and TLAM-D has a conventional submunitions (dispense bomblets) warhead. Both are identical in appearance, but different in capabilities. The missile concept is one of a wooden round. The missile is delivered to ships and submarines as an all-up-round (AUR), which includes the missile that flies the mission, the booster that starts its flight, and the container (canister for ships and capsule for submarines) that protects it during transportation, storage and stowage, and acts as a launch tube.
Operational evaluation to support a milestone III full rate production decision on the TOMAHAWK missile began in January 1981. This OPEVAL was conducted in six phases. The first three phases all involved testing of the submarine launched TOMAHAWK missiles. The sub launched antiship version (TASM), conventional land attack missile (TLAM/C), and nuclear land attack variant (TLAM/A) were tested from January 1981 to October 1983. The last three phases tested the ship launched variants. The ship launched variants were tested from December 1983 to March 1985. In all phases , the AUR was determined to be potentially operationally effective and potentially operationally suitable, and full rate production was recommended. In April of 1988 the OPEVAL of the conventional land attack submunitions missile (TLAM/D) was tested. The missile was determined to be potentially operationally effective and potentially operationally suitable, with limited fleet introduction recommended.
As missile improvements were made, follow on test and evaluation continued. BLK II improvements were made and tested with all variants in July 1987 through September 1987. Some of these improvements included a TASM improved sea skimming variant, an improved booster rocket, cruise missile radar altimeter, and the Digital Scene Matching Area Corellator (DSMAC) Blk II. In October of 1990, the OPEVAL of the Blk III missile began. The Blk III was the first time GPS was used to aid missile guidance. The testing was performed on both surface and subsurface units under various environmental conditions, continuing through July 1994. Both conventional variants (TLAM/C and D) were tested and determined to be operationally effective and operationally suitable, with full fleet introduction recommended.
The TOMAHAWK missile performance testing was an ongoing, five year study of TLAM performance which began in 1995. The testing ran concurrently with the Operational Test Launch (OTL) program. The objective of the program was to verify, in a statistically significant manner, that missile performance, accuracy, and reliability met operational requirements and thresholds. The program tested approximately eight missiles each year, two TLAM/N and six TLAM/C and D missiles. The testing emphasized operationally realistic test scenarios, including battle group operations, for missiles launched from TOMAHAWK capable Block II and Block III surface ships and submarines. Full end to end testing is completed with every mission.
Tomahawk Block III Since the Gulf War, the Navy has improved its Tomahawk missile's operational responsiveness, target penetration, range, and accuracy. It has added global positioning system guidance and redesigned the warhead and engine in the missile's block III configuration that entered service in March 1993. The Tomahawk TLAM Block III system upgrade incorporated jam-resistant Global Positioning System (GPS) system receivers; provided a smaller, lighter warhead, extended range, Time of Arrival, and improved accuracy for low contrast matching of Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator. With GPS, TLAM route planning is not constrained by terrain features, and mission planning time is reduced. China Lake designed, developed, and qualified the WDU-36 warhead in 48 months to meet evolving Tomahawk requirements of insensitive munitions ordnance compliance and range enhancement, while maintaining or enhancing ordnance effectiveness. The WDU-36 uses a new warhead material based upon prior China Lake warhead technology investigations, PBXN-107 explosive, the FMU-148 fuze (developed and qualified for this application), and the BBU-47 fuze booster (developed and qualified using the new PBXN-7 explosive). Block III was first used in the September 1995 Bosnia strike (Deliberate Force) and a year later in the Iraq strike (Desert Strike). The fielded Baseline III Tomahawk Weapon System continues to receive incremental upgrades. The principal improvements are in the Advanced Tomahawk Weapon Control System (ATWCS) fire-control system, and the TC2S software.
Tomahawk Block IV Phase I The Navy's premier strike weapon for the next generation was to have been the Block IV Phase I Tomahawk. Plans called for 1,253 Block IV missiles to be produced by remanufacturing currently bunkered TASMs (Tomahawk antiship variant) and upgrading Block II missiles to Block IV. Following extensive analysis of major regional conflict (MRC) Tomahawk usage and the resupply and support levels associated with it, OPNAV, in concert with fleet CINCs, developed an acquisition objective of 3,440 Block III and IV Tomahawk missiles through the completion of the Block IV program. This was part of the Tomahawk Baseline Improvement Program.
Tomahawk Block IV Phase II Future deep-strike requirements were in review and focused on technological advancements and cost reduction. Follow-on Tomahawk Block developments and replacement systems were also being reviewed. An antiarmor variant with a real-time targeting system for moving targets, using either Brilliant Antiarmor Technology or Search and Destroy Armor submunitions, was hoped to be a possibility. Both submunition options leveraged off U.S. Army developmental programs, aimed at reducing program costs. This was also part of the Tomahawk Baseline Improvement Program.
Tomahawk Baseline Improvement Program (TBIP) The Navy would have upgraded or remanufactured existing Tomahawk missiles with (1) GPS and an inertial navigation system to guide the missile throughout the mission and (2) a forward-looking terminal sensor to autonomously attack targets. These missiles were expected to enter service around 2000. This Tomahawk Baseline Improvement Program (TBIP) development was supposed to provide a comprehensive baseline upgrade to the Tomahawk Weapon System to improve system flexibility, responsiveness accuracy and lethality. Essential elements of the TBIP included upgrades to the guidance, navigation, control, and mission computer systems along with the associated command and control systems and weapons control systems. TBIP would have provided a single variant missile, the Tomahawk Multi-Mission Missile that is capable of attacking sea- and land-based targets in near real time. TBIP would have also enhanced its hard target penetrating capability beyond current weapons systems thus increasing the target set. TBIP aimed to provide UHF SATCOM and man-in-the-loop data link to enable missile to receive in-flight targeting updates, to transfer health and status messages and to broadcast Battle Damage Indication (BDI). The Advanced Tomahawk Weapons Control System (ATWCS) and Tomahawk Baseline Improvement Program would have provided a quick reaction response capability, real time target and aimpoint selection, autonomous terminal prosecution of the target and improve strike planning, coordination, mission tasking and lethality. However, this program proved to costly and was cancelled in 1996. The Block IV program and its designations were transferred to the Tactical Tomahawk program.
Tactical Tomahawk adds the capability to reprogram the missile while in-flight to strike any of 15 preprogrammed alternate targets or redirect the missile to any Global Positioning System (GPS) target coordinates. It also is able to loiter over a target area for some hours, and with its on-board TV camera, would allow the warfighting commanders to assess battle damage of the target, and, if necessary redirect the missile to any other target. Tactical Tomahawk permits mission planning aboard cruisers, destroyers and attack submarines for quick reaction GPS missions. The Tactical Tomahawk underwent a successful functional ground test (FGT) in mid-2002 at IHDIV's Rocket Motor Test Facility. This test served as a risk mitigation event prior to the first Tactical Tomahawk flight test. The successful completion of this test was a major milestone in the development of this new Tomahawk variant.
During this low-risk, high-fidelity test, the missile was exercised at the system level as it would be in free flight except that the missile is restrained in a specially designed test stand. A real time, six-degree-of-freedom simulation, developed by Raytheon and integrated into the FGT test platform by Indian Head engineers, was used to provide inputs to the missile's guidance system to simulate actual flight. Data review indicates that this missile design demonstrated all critical flight events required to achieve a successful flight. The initial Functional Ground Test evolutions on 5 February and 30 April 2002 at IHDIV were successful in flushing out a handful of anomalous behavior within the missile design. Due to the realistic and thorough nature of the FGT execution, design inadequacies within the propulsion, fuel and avionics sub-systems were identified. The design teams were able to identify root cause and efficiently implement re-design efforts to satisfactorily resolve the identified inadequacies. The final "go-fly" design configuration was successfully demonstrated during the latest FGT.
In December 2002 the Pentagon approved the Navy's plan to buy 1,353 of the new Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile for as much as $2 billion over five years. The weapon would enter full production in fiscal 2004, and the Navy would spend $241 million that year to buy 292 missiles and $195 million in fiscal 2005 for the next 227. The Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile is being developed for the Navy by Raytheon Systems Company. The updated costs for this next generation of long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles are $729,000 each, down from the $1.4 million each for the Block III Tomahawks, now in the fleet. The total buy is now set at up to 2,200 missiles over a five-year cycle for a total program cost of $1.6 billion.
The tactical Tomahawk was accepted by the fleet on 29 September 2004. The new capabilities of the Tactical Tomahawk carries a two-way satellite link that allows operators to reprogram the missile in flight. It 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 and can be launched from surface ships or submarines while carrying a 1,000-pound warhead.
On 27 May 1999 Raytheon was awarded a $25,829,379 undefinitized cost-plus-incentive-fee/cost-plus-fixed-fee, ceiling amount contract for the modification of the Tactical Tomahawk missile to the Tactical Tomahawk Penetrator Variant configuration as part of the Second Counter-Proliferation Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration. The Tactical Tomahawk missile was modified to incorporate the government-furnished penetrator warhead and the hard-target smart fuze. Four Tactical Tomahawk Penetrator Variant missiles were assembled to conduct the advanced concept technology demonstration testing. Work was performed in Tucson AZ and a successful test was completed in May 2003.
Tomahawk Block IV TASM [Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile] On 12 June 2012, subject to Congressional approval and appropriation of funds, the Naval Air Systems Command announced that it intended to negotiate and award a contract to Raytheon Missile Systems for the development and/or deployment of a near term Offensive Anti-Surface Weapon by integrating sensors, targeting correlation algorithms, and weapons capable radio subsystems that can be rapidly integrated into the Tactical Tomahawk Block (BLK)IV Weapons System to meet a need date of 2015 (i.e., rapid development/deployment).
This effort included procurement of component kits, test equipment, support for tests, and converting Tomahawk missiles to Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare missiles. These subsystems will add capabilities to create a semi-autonomous weapon capable of detection, discrimination and terminal guidance to a moving maritime target that will meet urgent operational needs. The integration will require specific engineering design data for the BLK IV mechanical, electrical, and functional interfaces. The systems/subsystems interfaces will include weight and balance, guidance and control, executive computer control software, and satellite data terminal, among other avionic components.
For the purposes of this effort, NAVAIR intended to award this seeker and data-link integration effort to Raytheon, since it has been the sole developer, designer, and manufacturer of the BLK IV Tactical Tomahawk Missile since 1998 and solely possesses the knowledge, capability, and technical data packages for the BLK IV Tomahawk Missile.
The BLK IV's operating range, in-flight command and control capability, and VLS compatibility, along with its existing Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS) and Tomahawk Command and Control System (TC2S) infrastructure, will ensure that integration and performance capability requirements can be achieved with the available resources and provide the nearest term Initial Operational Capability. This effort requires extensive knowledge of the BLK IV Tomahawk Weapon System and Raytheon is the only known source capable of accomplishing the required effort in the required timeframe and without significant duplication of cost.
Tomahawk Block V The U.S. Navy is recertifying and modernizing the Tomahawk missile, extending its service life by 15 years and resulting in a new series known as Block V. Raytheon Missiles & Defense will begin producing the new Block V missiles later in 2021, and has delivered the first upgraded Block IV systems to the Navy. The Navy completed Block V flight tests in December 2020. All Block IV missiles will be recertified, modernized and delivered as Block V missiles.
At one time a proposed Block V missile was to pioneer a new production method using modular design and construction technology to dramatically lower unit costs. Payload and guidance packages would be buyer-selectable based on use and budget.
The US Navy disclosed in early 2019 that recertified and modernized Tomahawk cruise missiles will be given the Block V designation. TACTOM missiles in a Block V configuration are Modernized, which include a navigation and communications (NAV/COMMs) upgrade. John Grady at USNI News reported January 22, 2020 that the Navy’s arsenal of Tomahawk cruise mmissiles will all become a Block V configuration, with older models to be retired and demilitarized, according to the program manager. “All Block IVs will be converted” and become Block V Tomahawks, said Capt. John Red, speaking to reporters during the 2020 Surface Navy Association Symposium.
Beginning in 2020, the U.S. Navy will recertify and modernize the missile, extending its service life by 15 years, and resulting in the new Tomahawk Block V series:
Block V: A modernized TACTOM with upgraded navigation and communication
Block Va: Block V that can strike moving targets at sea
Block Vb: Block V, with a joint multi-effects warhead that can hit more diverse land targets
On 06 February 2019 The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced that it intended to negotiate and award a contract for the studies, analysis, design, development, integration, and test of hardware, software, and algorithm solutions to add M-Code capable Anti-Jam GPS receiver (herein referred to as AGR5) into the modernized Tactical Tomahawk (TACTOM) Block V All-Up-Round (AUR). The scope includes delivering the preliminary and critical design phases of the TACTOM M-Code program development effort and to provide the top-level requirements definition, anti-jam receiver modeling, interface definition, software design, and documentation, resulting in a highly robust GPS navigation capability for the TACTOM All-Up-Round (AUR).
On 24 April 2019 the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced that it intended to negotiate and award a contract for Full Rate Production (FRP) 16 & FRP 17 Tomahawk Block V All-Up-Round (AUR) Missiles. Contract award was anticipated for June 2020. This requirement is for Canistered Surface Ship Vertical Launch Tomahawk Block V AUR missiles and related hardware/equipment and services. In addition to other related items/services, this may include Software support and obsolescence management and resolution.
NAVAIR intends to award these effort to Raytheon Missiles Systems (RMS), P.O. Box 11337, Tucson, AZ 85734-1337. Since 1994, RMS has been the sole developer, designer, and manufacturer for the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. RMS solely possesses the current configuration and manufacturing data for the Tomahawk Block IV AUR missile, and is the only source capable of meeting scheduled thresholds for Fleet load outs of the Tomahawk Block IV AUR missile.
RMS maintains and controls both the Level III technical data package (TDP) and the manufacturing documentation for the Block IV AUR. TDPs adequate for competition of the Block IV AUR missile were not procured by the Navy. Because a detailed knowledge and expertise of the Tomahawk Block IV AUR missile is required to conduct tasking under this contract, RMS is the only known source capable of accomplishing this requirement in the required timeframe and without duplication of costs. All responsible sources may submit a capability statement, which shall be considered by the agency. The data associated with the Tomahawk missile is export controlled and is not available to foreign sources or representatives.
On 10 December 2020 the U.S. Navy and Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, successfully completed two flight tests with the franchise’s newest cruise missile variant, the Tomahawk Block V. During the tests, the USS Chafee (DDG 90) launched two Block V missiles, impacting targets at ranges on both San Nicolas Island and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California.
The advanced Tomahawk Block V includes improved navigation and communications. “These tests keep the Navy on schedule to introduce Block V into the fleet next year,” said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Our modernization and recertification efforts will also extend the missile’s service life by 15 years.”
During the tests, the missiles were redirected mid-flight to different targets using their new advanced communications architecture systems. “The Block V capabilities reinforce Tomahawk’s unequivocal role as the Navy’s long-range strike weapon far into the future,” said Capt. John Red, the Navy’s Tomahawk Weapons System program manager. “These tests are tremendous milestones for our teams that have been working on these improvements for several years.”
The Navy received its first Block V configured Tomahawk missile from Raytheon March 25, 2021, paving the way to provide the fleet with an upgraded warfighting capability. These first Block V missiles are from the existing Tomahawk Block IV inventory, and have been recertified and modernized for fleet use. Raytheon is conducting the mid-life recertification process at its Camden, Arkansas facility. The process replaces life-limited components in Block IV missiles to enable their remaining 15 years of service life, and provides the opportunity for the missiles to receive Block V modernizations.
Additional Block V enhancements, such as a maritime strike capability (Block Va) and a programmable warhead for an expanded land attack capability (Block Vb), are in development for future deliveries. Block Va will strike moving targets at sea, while Block Vb will defeat a more diverse range of land targets.
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