Raytheon to upgrade guidance and warhead technology in Tomahawk cruise missile in $493.4 million contract

March 31, 2020
The Tomahawk Block V should reach production this year in two versions -- the Block Va for maritime strike, and Block Vb for hard-target penetration.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy guided missile experts are asking the Raytheon Co. to provide systems upgrades to the BGM-109 Tomahawk missile to enable the weapon to hit moving ships at sea, as well as hardened targets on land.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $493.4 million contract Friday to the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to upgrade and recertify Tactical Tomahawk Block IV missiles to the Block V version.

The contract includes navigation and communication kits that result in a modernized Tactical Tomahawk Block V missile. The Tomahawk Block V should reach production this year in two versions -- the Block Va for maritime strike, and Block Vb for hard-target penetration.

The Tomahawk Block Vb will have the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS) to help defeat bunkers and other hardened targets. All the Navy's Block IV Tomahawks will be converted to Block Vs, while the remaining Block III missiles will be retired.

Related: Raytheon eyes guidance sensor and processor to enable Tomahawk missile to hit moving enemy vessels at sea

The maritime-strike Tomahawk Block Va will have updated seeker technology and processing capabilities to enable the missile to hit moving targets at sea.

Navy joint task force commanders increasingly face long-range anti-ship missiles that threaten their surface forces and potentially deny access to mission-critical areas of operation, so they need a near-term capability to counter hostile surface forces. Without this, the Navy could face loss of life or critical mission failure, Navy officials say.

The Tactical Tomahawk missile has unique flight, launch, and information-processing capabilities. Raytheon can integrate a new sensor suite into the Tactical Tomahawk quickly. The company will provide a new seeker, processor, software, and a new inertial measuring unit for terminal maneuvers, as well as redesigned power budget and system cooling.

The JMEWS project for the Tomahawk Block Vb involves a new warhead that combines blast-fragmentation and enhanced penetration in one warhead. This will enable the Tomahawk to attack soft targets like parked aircraft, vehicles, and formations of soldiers, as well as hardened targets like bunkers, underground command posts, and aircraft in hardened shelters.

Related: Raytheon to start full-scale development of bunker-busting Tomahawk missile with penetrating warhead

For JMEWS, Raytheon is designing a two-stage warhead in a multi-effects system to destroy a wide variety of targets. During an August 2010 test, the JMEWS creating a hole large enough in a reinforced bunker for the missile's follow-through element to penetrate the concrete target and pass through two witness plates.

On this contract Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz.; Boulder, Colo.; Ogden, Utah; Camden, Ark.; Burlington, Vt.; El Segundo, Calif.; Clearwater, Fla.; Joplin, Mo.; Lincoln, Neb.; Rocket Center, W.Va.; and other locations, and should be finished by September 2023.

For more information contact Raytheon Missile Systems online at www.raytheon.com, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.

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