Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems has tested a new target seeker for its latest Tomahawk cruise missile to give the weapon the ability to hit moving targets.
Raytheon said it has completed a successful field test of an advanced Electronic Support Measure (ESM) seeker installed in a Block IV Tomahawk as part of the company’s new product-improvement program.
The new seeker includes a state-of-the-art processor and antenna to locate and track moving and fixed targets, Raytheon said. The seeker’s capability was proved in a “realistic, high-density environment” after seven months of testing in anti-echo chambers, the company said.
The new moving-target feature is in line with the Pentagon’s strategy of increasing the capabilities of weapon systems while controlling development costs, Roy Donelson, Tomahawk program director for Raytheon Missile Systems, said in prepared remarks.
Raytheon says the new, multimode seeker technology would allow the Navy’s “surface action groups” — groups of warships without aircraft carriers designed to battle surface threats — to fire Tomahawks from a safe distance and defeat mobile threats at long range. The Tomahawk has a range of about 1,000 miles.
Major improvements introduced with the Tomahawk Block IV missile include a two-way satellite data link that enables a strike commander to redirect the missile in-flight, to preprogrammed alternate targets or more critical targets.