Raytheon delivers 1st Tomahawk Block V missiles to U.S. Navy

Tomahawk Block V
The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) launches a Tomahawk Block V cruise missile during a U.S. Navy exercise off the coast of California. Raytheon Missiles & Defense delivered the first Block V variant to the Navy on March 25, 2021. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Raytheon Missiles & Defense delivers first Tomahawk Block-V next-gen system to the U.S. Navy, Raytheon announced with a press release.

The U.S. Navy is recertifying and modernizing the Tomahawk missile, extending its service life by 15 years and resulting in a new series known as Block V. Raytheon Missiles & Defense will begin producing the new Block V missiles later in 2021, and has delivered the first upgraded Block IV systems to the Navy.

“This first delivery marks the culmination of years of teamwork between the Navy and Raytheon, and it’s the start of a tremendous new era for the program,” said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business. “These upgrades will extend the advantages Tomahawk provides the fleet for years to come.”

“Range and precision are important to counter moving targets at sea,” Ernzen said. “These enhancements take an already effective weapon and raise it to a new level.”

Raytheon Missiles & Defense is also expanding the missile’s long-range, land-attack capability with a programmable warhead that can hit more diverse land targets.

The U.S. Navy completed Block V flight tests in December 2020. All Block IV missiles will be recertified, modernized, and delivered as Block V missiles.

“Modernization ensures Tomahawk’s relevance now and in the future,” Ernzen said. “This latest delivery marks the next big step for the Tomahawk program.”

A synthetically guided Tomahawk cruise missile successfully hits a moving maritime target in 2015.  Source: U.S. Navy

Tomahawk Block V:

The Block V is planned to go into production this year. Equipped with a multimode seeker the Block Va being the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) which allows the missile to engage a moving target at sea and the Block Vb outfitted with the JMEWS warhead for hard-target penetration. All Block IV Tomahawks will be converted to Block V standard, while the remaining Block III missiles will be retired and demilitarized.

  • Block V: A modernized TACTOM with upgraded navigation and communication
  • Block Va: Block V that can strike moving targets at sea
  • Block Vb: Block V, with a joint multi-effects warhead that can hit more diverse land targets

The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon a $349 million contract on August 28 for Phase 2 of the Maritime Strike Tomahawk Rapid Deployment Capability, which will follow Phase 1 design and integration efforts as well as test and evaluation. Work under the contract will be completed in February 2023. Raytheon also received a $7.2 million contract on August 22 for an updated technical data package of the MST guidance test set and additional hardware and software upgrade work.