NAVAIR Conducts Tomahawk IV Test Onboard USS Milius

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - A U.S. Navy Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile was launched last week from USS MILIUS (DDG-69), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer underway in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Calif. The missile flew a land attack mission, launching from the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) sea range.

Seconds after launch from the ship's vertical launch system, the Tomahawk missile transitioned to cruise flight. It flew a fully guided 755-nautical mile test flight using global positioning satellite and digital scene matching area correlator navigation, to a target site on the NAVAIR land range.

This marked the first Tomahawk IV launch from USS MILIUS. When asked to comment, Cmdr. E. Hernandez, the commander of the ship said, “MILIUS is honored to have the opportunity to conduct the TLAM firing. I have full confidence in my strike team. This is the type of challenge they love to take on. We look forward to helping advance the next generation of land attack weaponry.”

Today’s test also successfully demonstrated the Tomahawk Strike Network. The Tomahawk Strike Network (TSN) is a unique aspect of the Block IV system. Utilized in this test, TSN is a communications network that provides secure connectivity among all of the participants in a strike plan. Those participants include the Block IV missile(s), the strike controller, and the missile controller. Messages are generated, sent, and received inside the network, and are monitored by a channel controller. TSN allows the strike controller to retarget the missile in flight, monitor the health and status of the missile in flight, and collect images along the route.

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 Tomahawk Block IV increase fleet effectiveness, while significantly reducing acquisition and life cycle costs.

U.S. Navy Tomahawk program manager, Capt. Rick McQueen said, “today's successful test event shows that the Baseline IV Tomahawk Weapon System will maintain the legacy of weapon effectiveness that Tomahawk has demonstrated in every major conflict from Desert Storm through Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Tomahawk missiles are deployed throughout the world's oceans on numerous surface ships and submarines, including AEGIS-Class Cruisers, Guided Missile Destroyers, and SEAWOLF and LOS ANGELES-Class submarines.

Tomahawk operational test launches are conducted throughout the year, from Navy surface ships and submarines. These tests are designed to maintain the operational prowess and readiness of the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, test and prove upgrades and enhancements to the missile, platforms, or control software. As in all Tomahawk flight tests, air route safety was carefully planned in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. For safety purposes, the Tomahawk could have been guided by commands from safety chase aircraft.

The Tomahawk program is managed by the Program Executive Office, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation (PEO(W)) co-located at the NAVAIR complex in Patuxent River, Maryland. The missile is manufactured by Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ. Tomahawk is a registered trademark of the United States Navy.

Source: Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR)

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