A US Navy Virginia class submarine recently fired a Raytheon Tomahawk Block IV missile from the Gulf of Mexico to engage a simulated target. The US Navy said the flight completes the integration of the Tomahawk cruise missile onto the Navy's newest fast-attack submarine, adding another platform to the list of combatant vessels that can carry the combat-proven weapon.
"Integration of the Tomahawk Block IV on the Virginia class submarine provides the fleet with a powerful combination of delivering Special Operations Forces and supporting them with the power and precision of the Tomahawk missile," said Capt. Rick McQueen, the US Navy's programme manager for the Tomahawk weapon system. "The Tomahawk currently is used very effectively in the global war on terror. The fleet now has the ability to expand the prosecution of this mission with increased stealth, flexibility and precision firepower."
The Tomahawk Block IV is a surface- and submarine-launched precision strike stand-off weapon. It is designed for long-range precision strike missions against high-value and heavily defended targets.
"This test highlights a successful integration effort that provides all the capabilities of the Tomahawk missile on Navy platforms that include destroyers, cruisers, fast-attack and guided-missile boats," said Gary Hagedon, Raytheon's Tomahawk programme director.
This was the 16th consecutive test of the Tomahawk Block IV and completes the Navy's 2008 test series of eight launches.
The Tomahawk Block IV employs a two-way satellite data link that enables a strike controller to flex the missile in flight to pre-programmed alternate targets or redirect it to a new target. This targeting flexibility includes the capability to loiter over the battlefield and await a more critical target.