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Tactical Tomahawk Soars Through Second Contractor Test Flight

Tactical Tomahawk Soars Through Second Contractor Test Flight

By Sandra Schroeder, NAVAIR Public Affairs, PEO(W)

China Lake, California -- (NNS) November 17, 2002 -- The highest standard in warfare technology was demonstrated recently in the second contractor flight test of the Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile at the Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR) western test range complex in Southern California.

China Lake, Calif. -- A Tactical "Tomahawk" Block IV cruise missile is escorted by a Navy F-14 Tomcat fighter during a controlled test over the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) western test range complex in southern California. During the second such test flight, the missile successfully completed a vertical underwater launch, flew a fully guided 780-mile course, and impacted a designated target structure as planned. The Tactical "Tomahawk", the next generation of Tomahawk cruise missile 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 will be able to loiter over a target area for some hours, and with its on-board TV camera, will allow the war fighting commanders to assess battle damage of the target, and, if necessary redirect the missile to any other target. Launched from the Navy's forward-deployed ships and submarines, Tactical Tomahawk will provide a greater flexibility to the on-scene commander. Tactical Tomahawk is scheduled to join the fleet in 2004 (Nov. 10, 2002).

U.S. Navy photo

This flight marked the successful completion of the Tactical Tomahawk contractor flight-testing phase and paves the way for entry into formal government technical evaluation.

The missile was launched vertically from a fixed underwater launcher, demonstrating its operational submerged launch capability. The missile broached the ocean?s surface and successfully demonstrated shroud separation, rocket motor firing/separation and deployment of fins, inlet duct and wings. It transitioned to cruise flight and flew a fully guided 780-mile flight using global positioning system (GPS), terrain contour matching, and digital scene matching area correlation navigation updates, and demonstrated its GPS anti-jamming performance capability.

The Tactical Tomahawk successfully executed its terminal dive maneuver and impacted the target structure as planned.

The Tactical Tomahawk, or block IV, is the latest variant of the Navy's premiere cruise missile, due to reach the fleet in 2004. The Tomahawk is ship and submarine launched, and was first employed operationally during Desert Storm. Since then, the missile has been heralded for its accuracy and lethality. The enhanced capabilities of Tactical Tomahawk will increase fleet effectiveness, while significantly reducing acquisition and life cycle costs.

?Completion of this second flight test proves that the Tactical Tomahawk design is well on its way to providing the fleet with the most technologically advanced land attack cruise missile ever built,? said Navy Capt. Bob Novak, program manager for the Tomahawk all-up-round missile. ?I am extremely proud of this government/industry team?their efforts will put absolute combat power and flexibility into the hands of the fleet in the near future. Simply put, Tactical Tomahawk will be a centerpiece of an unheard of revolution in strike warfare planning and execution.?

As in all Tomahawk flight tests, air route safety was carefully planned in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. For safety purposes, the missile could have been guided by commands from safety chase aircraft.

The launch marked the 402nd Tomahawk flight test.

The Tomahawk program is managed by the program executive office, strike weapons and unmanned aviation. The manufacturer of the Tomahawk is Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz. Tomahawk is a registered trademark of the U.S. Navy.

NAVAIR provides advanced warfare technology through the efforts of a seamless, integrated, worldwide network of aviation technology experts.


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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).