A Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile successfully took a reconnaissance photo and followed orders to re-target in mid-flight during a test conducted by the U.S. Navy and Raytheon Company, according to a Raytheon press release.
The missile, launched from the guided missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), used its onboard camera to capture simulated battle damage indication imagery, transmitted the image to fleet headquarters via a two-way UHF SATCOM datalink, and then entered a loiter pattern to await instructions.
Half a world away in Bahrain, strike controllers at U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters redirected the cruise missile to a new target on San Nicolas Island off the coast of southern California, where the Block IV Tomahawk entered a vertical dive and scored a direct hit on the new target. The test was designed to prove that strike controllers located at multiple fleet headquarters could simultaneously control and re-target multiple missiles. During the test, only one of a large salvo of missiles was actually fired, the rest being flown through computer simulation on various missions by forward-deployed strike controllers.
“We have once again proven the flexibility and utility of the Tomahawk Block IV missile, which has an unprecedented record of reliability and combat success,” said Dave Adams, Raytheon Tomahawk senior program director. “Tomahawk continues to be the weapon of choice for combatant commanders requiring very long range, precision strike, with the flexibility to loiter and re-direct after launch. No other weapon has this capability.”