PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy guided missile experts are asking Raytheon Technologies Corp. to provide missile seeker upgrade kits for the BGM-109 Tomahawk missile Block 5A to enable the weapon to hit moving ships at sea.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $40.4 million order Friday to the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., to build low-rate production Maritime Strike Tomahawk sensor seeker suites to provide midcourse and terminal guidance to enable the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) to attack enemy ships from Navy surface warships and submarines.
The Maritime Strike Tomahawk, also called Tomahawk Block 5A, was introduced in 2021 with improvements to navigation and in-flight targeting that give the long-range subsonic weapon anti-ship missile capability. The missile fires from Navy surface warships and submerged submarines.
The seeker suites will be installed in recertified Tomahawk missiles for the Navy. The maritime-strike Tomahawk Block-5A has 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 Maritime Strike Tomahawk will augment the newer and more sophisticated U.S. Navy and Air Force AGM-158C Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) that can launch from the Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter bomber, as well as from the Air Force B-1B Lancer long-range strategic bomber.
LRASM also is being considered for launch from the F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighter, the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol jet, as well as from the Navy Mark 41 shipboard Vertical Launch System and for submarine launchers.
The LRASM travels at high subsonic speeds, and for some future uses likely will give way in the future to expected new generations of hypersonic missiles. Submarine-launched versions are under consideration.
For the Maritime Strike Tomahawk, Raytheon can integrate a new sensor suite into the Tomahawk missile that consists of a new seeker, processor, software, and a new inertial measuring unit for terminal maneuvers, as well as redesigned power budget and system cooling.
On this order Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz.; Boulder, Colo.; Dallas; North Logan, Utah; Pontiac, Mich.; and other continental U.S. locations, and should be finished by October 2024. For more information contact Raytheon Missile Systems online at www.rtx.com/our-company/our-businesses/rmd, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.