Tomahawk demonstrates Y2K readiness

Archived Body

A U.S. Navy Tomahawk cruise missile demonstrated Y2K readiness today in an operational test launch from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division sea range off the coast of southern California. USS SAN FRANCISCO, a submerged LOS ANGELES-Class submarine, launched the Tomahawk at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. The missile flew a land attack mission profile to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division land range at China Lake, California.

This Y2K test is one of several this year that has demonstrated Tomahawk's readiness for the year 2000. Tomahawk will also participate in a Y2K Fleet Exercise in late summer.

To prove operational readiness of this weapon system in the year 2000, all clocks associated with the launch process were advanced to February 29, 2000. The test mission was fired the next day with all system clocks indicating March 1, 2000. Although all equipment has been individually tested and certified Y2K compliant in a laboratory environment, this was the first beginning to end Y2K demonstration of the weapon system culminating in an actual launch of a Tomahawk from a Fleet submarine.

Seconds after launch from the submarine's torpedo tube, the Tomahawk missile transitioned to cruise flight. It flew a fully guided 575-mile test flight using Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) navigation to a target and recovery site on the China Lake range. The missile's parachute recovery system was activated as planned. The missile was safely recovered and will be refurbished for future use. This was the second launch of a Tomahawk test missile by USS SAN FRANCISCO, one of the fast attack submarine class that makes up the majority of the submarine force.

USS SAN FRANCISCO launched a Tomahawk test missile on Monday, May 10, which flew 43 seconds before the missile failed due to a non-Y2K reliability failure. The flight terminated in the Sea Test Range, and recovery efforts are underway. Because the failure in that particular test missile was determined not to be Y2K associated, the Navy decided to launch today to complete the Y2K verification.

Tomahawk is the nation's "weapon of choice" for critical, long range, precision strike missions against high value or heavily defended targets. Tomahawk missiles are deployed throughout the world's oceans on various surface ships and submarines. While maintaining its deep strike capability, Tomahawk continues to evolve to meet the warfighters' needs for a more flexible and "tactical" precision strike weapon. Future variants will incorporate new technologies providing new operational capabilities and new missions while significantly reducing acquisition and life cycle costs.

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. Today's test was the 370th Tomahawk flight test.

To learn more about the Program Executive Office, Cruise Missiles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, log on to our website at

For further information contact:

Cathy Partusch, Public Affairs Officer, PEO (CU)
Voice: (301) 757-6316 Pager: (888) 534-6628
Email: [email protected]

Sandy Schroeder, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, PEO (CU)
Voice: (301) 757-5289
Email: [email protected]

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