Tactical Tomahawk® Weapons Control System Successfully Launches Missile At-Sea

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A U.S. Navy Tomahawk® cruise missile was launched today, October 16, 2002, from USS STETHEM (DDG 63), an ARLEIGH BURKE-Class guided missile destroyer underway in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Calif.

The block III missile flew a fully guided 565-mile flight at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) western test range complex. Seconds after launch from the ship’s vertical launch system, the TOMAHAWK missile transitioned to cruise flight, utilizing global positioning satellite navigation to a target on the range. Today’s test was part of the Tactical TOMAHAWK Weapons Control System (TTWCS) technical evaluation process.

TTWCS is the next generation cruise missile weapons control system. It has been developed by Lockheed Martin, Management and Data Systems in Valley Forge, Penn., and is scheduled for fleet introduction in 2003. Today’s test flight demonstrated a new weapons control system capability called Launch Platform Mission Planning (LPMP). This capability enables individual ships to plan and execute TOMAHAWK cruise missile strikes with currently fielded block III missiles and soon to be fielded Tactical TOMAHAWK cruise missiles.

LPMP was developed to reduce weapons system reaction time by speeding up the mission planning process. TTWCS will provide additional war-fighting flexibility by allowing a launch platform or a command and control node to redirect Tactical TOMAHAWK to a new target while in flight. Tactical TOMAHAWK recently demonstrated its initial capabilities during the first contractor flight test in August 2002. It is scheduled for fleet introduction in 2004.

TOMAHAWK missiles are deployed throughout the world’s oceans on numerous surface ships and submarines, including AEGIS-Class Cruisers, Guided Missile Destroyers, and SEAWOLF and LOS ANGELES-Class submarines.

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 marked the 401st TOMAHAWK flight test.

NAVAIR provides advanced warfare technology through the efforts of a seamless, integrated, worldwide network of aviation technology experts. From professional training to carrier launch and recovery; from sensor data to precision targeting and real-time communications; from aircraft and weapons development to successful deployment and sustainment; NAVAIR provides dominant combat effects and matchless capabilities to the American warfighter.