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Indian Head Testing Paves Way for Tactical Tomahawk

Indian Head Testing Paves Way for Tactical Tomahawk

From Navy Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head

Indian Head, Maryland -- (NNS) July 7, 2002 -- Tactical Tomahawk, the next generation of the Navy’s Tomahawk cruise missile, underwent a successful functional ground test (FGT) recently at IHDIV’s Rocket Motor Test Facility.

"Tactical Tomahawk," the next generation of the U.S. Navy’s "Tomahawk" cruise missile, underwent a successful functional ground test (FGT) on May 17 at the Rocket Motor Test Facility located in Maryland. The test was conducted as a risk mitigation event prior to the first Tactical Tomahawk test flight. The successful completion of this test was a major milestone of this new cruise missile being developed for the Navy by Raytheon Systems.

U.S. Navy photo

U.S. Navy photo

This test served as a risk mitigation event prior to the first Tactical Tomahawk flight test. The successful completion of this test is a major milestone in the development of this new Tomahawk variant. The Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile is being developed for the Navy by Raytheon Systems Company.

During this low-risk, high-fidelity test, the missile is 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.

Following the successful test, Troy Goertz, Raytheon lead engineer, acknowledged, "There is no substitute for system level testing." Additionally, Cmdr. Mat Winter from the PMA-280 program office stated, "Once again FGT has demonstrated value added to the [Tomahawk Cruise Missile] program."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.

The FGT program at Indian Head began in 1990 as a basic test capability in support of the Cruise Missile Office, PMA-280. Over the last 12 years, 60 missile tests have been conducted at the test facility. The Tomahawk cruise missile evolved during the ‘90’s with upgrades in hardware and software, such as the addition of the global positioning system (GPS) to the guidance system, and continues to evolve.

This next-generation Tactical Tomahawk includes many improvements, including launch platform mission planning capability; in-flight retargeting, loiter, battle damage assessment capability; and in-flight health and status reporting (the ability to communicate with the missile during flight is accomplished through a satellite data link).

With every upgrade or enhancement to the missile system, IHDIV’s FGT experts must also evolve and upgrade the test platform to exercise all missile subsystems during the ground test.

The FGT team worked for over two years preparing for the first FGT of the Tactical Tomahawk variant. Design advancements required several upgrades to the FGT platform including test stand redesign, Tactical Tomahawk hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL) development, six-degree-of-freedom simulation rehost, interface hardware/software upgrades, telemetry upgrades, GPS satellite simulator upgrade, and updating of the variable radar altimeter test set. All platform upgrades required extensive testing using the HWIL and an inert operational missile to demonstrate test capability prior to the actual FGT. The FGT team, working with RSC, completed all upgrades to the test platform on schedule and within budget.

In addition to establishing the capability to test the Tactical Tomahawk variant, several logistical "firsts" were achieved. IHDIV was the first Navy activity to take receipt of and handle the Tactical Tomahawk. New handling procedures were required and developed by IHDIV engineers working with IHDIV’s PHS&T Center and Raytheon personnel.

Also, after receiving the test missile from Raytheon, IHDIV was the first Navy activity to perform a "decan" procedure, which removes the weapon from the Ml 10 launcher tube.

The Tactical Tomahawk (Block IV) is the next generation of the Navy's premiere cruise missile, due to reach the fleet in 2004, and will supplement the current Tomahawk Block II/III inventories. The Tomahawk is launched from surface ships and submarines and was first employed operationally during Desert Storm. Since then, the missile has been heralded for its accuracy and lethality.

As the weapon continues to evolve, IHDIV responds and provides the Tomahawk program with a low-risk, high-fidelity test capability. The Tomahawk program is managed by the Program Executive Officer, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation (PEO(W)).


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).