USS DONALD COOK launches a Tomahawk Block IV during a test on January 17, from the Gulf of Mexico test range. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced that a test of a U.S. Navy Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile was conducted on Wednesday, January 17, from the USS DONALD COOK (DDG-75), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer underway in the Gulf of Mexico sea ranges off the coast of the Florida panhandle.
Seconds after launch from the ship's vertical launch system, the Tomahawk missile transitioned to cruise flight. It flew a fully guided 645-nautical mile test flight using global positioning satellite and digital scene matching area correlator navigation. The one-hour, 30-minute flight concluded at a target and recovery site on the Eglin Air Force Base land range.
The Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS) provides command and control of the missile during launch and while in-flight. Using TTWCS, the ship can redirect the Tomahawk to a new target while in flight. TTWCS has been developed for the Navy by Lockheed Martin, Management and Data Systems in Valley Forge, Penn.
This marked the first execution of a Tomahawk Block IV test mission into Eglin ranges. Tomahawk program manager, Capt. Rick McQueen remarked, This successful launch of a Tomahawk Block IV missile again demonstrates the increased responsiveness and flexibility that the Block IV weapon system brings to the fight. We are delivering an unprecedented capability to the warfighter. It also demonstrates the Government/Industry team's commitment to excellence and quality. Our goal is simple—be the Nation's premier strike weapon of choice."
This test also marked the first Block IV launch from the USS DONALD COOK. Although a first with Block IV, the ship is very familiar with the Tomahawk missile, as it took part in the first strikes in Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 20, 2003. DONALD COOK takes great pleasure to showcase the latest advancements in the Tactical Tomahawk Weapon System, said Cmdr. John M. Esposito, Commanding Officer of the DONALD COOK. This successful test firing proves the legacy of the U.S. Navy's premier weapon system and shows that it continues to lead the way in uncertain times. The software improvements coupled with the Block IV missile will provide commanders ashore a tremendously flexible system in meeting our warfighting requirements be it a conventional fight or GWOT strike."
The Tomahawk cruise missile is a long range, subsonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare, launched from surface ships and submarines. Tomahawk is designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds, and can be flown over evasive routes by several mission tailored guidance systems. Tomahawk missiles are deployed throughout the worlds oceans on numerous surface ships and submarines, including AEGIS-class cruisers, guided missile destroyers, and SEAWOLF and LOS ANGELES-class submarines.
The Tomahawk program is managed by the Program Executive Office, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation (PEO(W)) located at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland. The missile is manufactured by Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz. As in all Tomahawk flight tests, air route safety was carefully planned in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For safety purposes, the Tomahawk could have been guided by commands from safety chase aircraft.
Tomahawk is a registered trademark of the United States Navy.