Motion and Control

Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger

31 July 2017

We recently profiled the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, the Raytheon-manufactured long-range subsonic cruise missile used for deep land attack warfare. The model currently in active use, the Tomahawk Bloc IV (TLAM-E), was first introduced in 2004. Missiles are scheduled to be temporarily removed from service for maintenance and recertification around halfway through their three-decade service life.

We talked to the company again recently to get a better sense of that process, which will soon see the first batch of deployed TLAM-Es making a return stop at their place of origin.

  1. How many missiles are taken out of service at a time, and how long does the process take? What specific components are addressed?
    While the exact number of missiles to be taken out of service (at any one time) is still to be determined, the first lot of missiles delivered in 2004 will be the first batch to undergo recertification/modernization. Recertification will include inspecting non-life limited components that support a 32-year service life, replace life-limited components (seals, energetics, desiccants) and the testing of electronic components. Exactly how long recertification will take is still being determined, but Raytheon has an impressive history of on-time delivery performance, and our customers should expect nothing less during the recertification/modernization process.
  2. While you’ve got the missiles back at the factory, are there additional weaponry capabilities that will be installed?
    Raytheon and the U.S. Government are investing over $2 billion dollars over the next five years to ensure that Tomahawk is the most capable long-range strike weapon in the world. The Tomahawk Block IV, introduced in 2004, was one of the original “networked” weapons, and the new radios being installed will ensure that Tomahawk will operate in any communications architecture. While the current Tomahawk Block IV has many inherent anti access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities, the upgraded GPS capabilities will ensure Tomahawk can operate globally until the end of its service life. Another new feature will be the addition of a multi-mode sensor that will allow the new Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) variant to engage moving targets at sea. Lastly, a new warhead is in development that will give commanders greater options in using Tomahawk on a wider variety of targets.
  3. In looking at the overall picture of these improved capabilities, our understanding is that the Tomahawk is transitioning from a weapon to be used against “soft” targets (e.g., above-ground buildings) to one that can be used against “hardened” targets (e.g., reinforced underground bunkers) and moving targets. Tell us more.
    The current Tomahawk Block IV continues to redefine what a “soft” target is. As demonstrated by the recent strike into Syria, the current version of Tomahawk successfully met the commander’s objectives against bunkers, buildings, hangars and storage facilities — all against a modern Integrated Air Defense System (IADS). We are constantly improving Tomahawk based upon the needs of our customer(s). Those needs include the ability to strike additional target sets such as hardened or deeply buried targets. Additionally, the ability to strike moving targets at sea was identified, and we have developed a Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) that fills that need. To keep Tomahawk viable to our customers, it is important that we listen to our customer(s) and offer the latest in technology and advancements, at a competitive price.
  4. Looking to the future, the Navy has surveyed industry for input on its Next Generation Land Attack Weapon (NGLAW), for field trials within the 2028-30 timeframe. Does this mean the Tomahawk is on its way out? Will Raytheon be a player in whatever the next development may be?
    Raytheon continues to look to the future and our Advanced Missile Systems division is working on future solutions (beyond 2030) to provide the U.S. government capabilities to defeat emerging threats in that time frame.
To contact the author of this article, email tony.pallone@ieeeglobalspec.com


Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 9 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#1
2017-Aug-01 10:22 AM

Interesting Q&A session. I wish Raytheon all the continued success in preparing our weapons to be second to none, and fully capable of defeating whatever rock the enemy wishes to hide under.

Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#2
2017-Aug-01 4:11 PM

"The Tomahawk ... was one of the original “networked” weapons, and the new radios being installed will ensure that Tomahawk will operate in any communications architecture."

I'm "thrown for a loop"... Wouldn't we prefer that it only be operable within a single ("extra secure"/"inaccessible-to-99.999999999999%" of the world's population) highly encrypted sort of communications architecture...(?)

[What did the author actually mean by what he didn't actually-necessarily say...?]

I do not work in the communications industry . . .

Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#3
In reply to #2
2017-Aug-01 5:00 PM

we want it to work over our entire set of platforms, not the world, silly man.

Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#4
In reply to #3
2017-Aug-01 6:57 PM

? unable to "self-OT", any more ?

I'd feel much safer if secrets such as that were just plain-old kept secret...

Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#5
In reply to #4
2017-Aug-02 12:08 PM

The opponents will still not know where the incoming is sourced from. It makes for a bad day when folks piss off America.

Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#6
In reply to #5
2017-Aug-03 3:59 PM

"Agreed" . . . (I know, 'pretty well'...) ......................................................................................................................................................................(("wait for it.................."))..........(!)

Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#8
In reply to #6
2017-Aug-10 7:52 PM

"Wait no more"....

Don't recall ever seeing you "chime in",

[here] ...

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/114241?frmtrk=cr4sd#comment1217696

Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#9
In reply to #5
2017-Aug-11 9:38 AM

OOOoooops ... ("my bad") ...

My Post#8 SHOULD-HAVE-BEEN a "Reply-To" YOUR post, here.....

Re: Tomahawk Comes Home In Order to Return Stronger
#7
2017-Aug-10 6:05 PM

''To keep Tomahawk viable to our customers, it is important that we listen to our customer(s) and offer the latest in technology and advancements, at a competitive price.''

''customers''? Is Raytheon an advanced world class weapons Walmart? In addition to USDoD, who is a ''customer''? Does the ''competitive price'' engage Raytheon in bidding against the Brand X's of cruise missiles? Are there occasional shoot-outs somewhere that determine which cruise missile has the biggest cojones and can command the highest price.

Is Dr. Strangelove still running all of this stuff? Is his end game still the ''sum of all fears''?

Grandpa wants answers that he can pass along to his grandkids.

Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Our flagship newsletter covers all the technologies engineers need for new product development across disciplines and industries.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Advertisement