US Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition Day 3 (11 April 2018) Mid-Day Report
The venerable Raytheon-manufactured R/UGM-109E TOMAHAWK Block IV cruise missile is “healthy” from a programme perspective, with about 500 weapons either on contract, or on option with US DoD, for possible delivery. Beyond funding continuity into the budget outyears, in 2019, Raytheon will begin a full recertification and modernisation effort. Under the strategy, the TOMAHAWK Block IV weapon which has a 30-year operational life, will return in its 15th-year following production to have various components recertified and, in some instances, to receive broader modernisation enhancements.
The Recertification/Modernisation programme has a 15-year duration.
While the programme is still in the planning phase, it is expected Raytheon will initially integrate a new communications suite into refurbished rounds starting in fiscal year 2019 and add a multi-mode seeker beginning around 2021. The fiscal year 2019 budget has funding to ramp up the programme and selectively integrate the new Joint Multi-Effects Warhead System (JMEWS) into the missiles. “Every missile coming in in 2019 will be recertified,” Chris Daily, the program director for TOMAHAWK, in the company’s Missile Systems division, said. By design, every TOMAHAWK built and in service, will return to the company’s Tucson production facility to be recertified and returned to the fleet.
Major industry TOMAHAWK programme industry partners to prime contractor Raytheon and their responsibilities include: Aerojet (booster); Williams International (engine); Honeywell (inertial measurement unit); GDOTS (warhead); JCM (machining major body sections) and others in the US. Raytheon partners in the UK deliver the guidance component. ELCAN of Canada provides the Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator illuminator.
TOMAHAWK missiles delivered to the Royal Navy will also be recertified as will their US cousins. MONCh was unable to obtain the modernization plans for RN TOMAHAWK rounds from the US Navy to meet deadline for publishing this article.
Asked to justify the return on investment in a recertified/modernized TOMAHAWK, when compared to current baseline counterparts, Mr. Daily replied: “They will have a new advanced communication radio. With modernisation, you will still have your long-range, land attack TOMAHAWK, but with two variants: one a multi-mode seeker which will give the warfighter a capability in the anti-ship domain, and still retain the land attack capability. You will have a variant with the JMEWS warhead which adds to the target set Tomahawk can complete. We’re talking about more capability and still retaining what Tomahawk brought to the table – for long range precision strike.”
Brian Wheeler, on the division’s TOMAHAWK Business Development team, pointed out US Navy’s ‘ZUMWALT’-class ships will be equipped with TOMAHAWK to provide an ASuW capability. And while the Navy-industry team has no planned sale of TOMAHAWK to prospective foreign military sales customers, he added, “if they invest in a MK41 launch system, that provides the capability to launch TOMAHAWK.”