US Navy to procure 196 Tomahawk cruise missiles from Raytheon for $260 million

Raytheon has been awarded a $260 million modification to an earlier contract for the procurement of 196 Tomahawk vertical launch cruise missiles and spares, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a press release.

“Raytheon Co., Tucson, Arizona, is being awarded $260,345,336 for modification P00010 to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price (N00019-17-C-0034) for procurement of 196 Tomahawk Block IV all-up-round vertical launch system missiles and spares in support of the Navy,” the release said on Friday, November 3.

“In addition, this modification provides for the procurement of spare parts and support for the government of the United Kingdom,” the release said, adding that the UK spend was $3,642,671.

USS Cape St. George launches a Tomahawk cruise missile
A Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Cape St. George in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, March 23, 2003. Image: US Navy/Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Kenneth Moll

Work will be carried out in Tuscon, Arizona, Walled Lake, Michigan, Camden, Arkansas and a number of other locations across the U.S. and  is expected to be completed in August 2019.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

The subsonic cruise missile is delivered to ships and submarines as an All-Up-Round, which includes the missile, the booster, and the container for transportation and storage and stowage, which also acts as a launch tube.

The Tomahawk was designed by General Dynamics in the 1970s as a medium-range to long-range, low-altitude missile launched from a surface platform and is operated by the U.S and the U.K. It has been upgraded with improved guidance systems for precision navigation. The TLAM is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

Tomahawk Block IV was introduced in 2006 and added a strike controller which can alter the flight path of the missile to one of 15 alternate targets or redirect it to a new target. The missile can also transmit battle damage indication imagery and missile health and status messages via a two-way satellite data link.

A version with a maritime attack capability will enter service in 2021, and a supersonic ramjet version is under consideration.

USS Ross fires a Tomahawk cruise missile at Sharyat airfield
USS Ross (DDG 71) fires a Tomahawk land attack missile against Sharyat airfield, Syria, in response to the Khan Sheikhoun sarin attack. Image: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price

On April 6, President Donald Trump ordered a TLAM strike against al-Shayrat airfield near Homs, Syria in response to the Syrian regime sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun two days earlier. The USS Porter and USS Ross launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Pentagon said the strike severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft, support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons.

Tomahawks were perhaps most famously used against Iraq. In 1991 Gulf War, 288 Tomahawks were launched against Iraqi targets; in December 1998, 325 Tomahawk missiles were fired at Iraqi targets during Operation Desert Fox; and during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, more than 802 Tomahawk missiles were fired at key Iraqi targets.

USS Preble fires a Tomahawk cruise missile
USS Preble conducts a training launch of an operational Tomahawk cruise missile, September 29, 2010. Image: US Navy/ Petty Officer 1st Class Woody Paschall

As of 2015, the U.S. Navy held a stockpile of around 3,500 Tomahawk cruise missiles of all variants.

In 2016, The Department of Defense purchased 149 Tomahawk Block IV missiles for $202.3 million, and in December 2016 ordered a further 214 Tomahawk Block IV missiles and spares for $303,749,820, with an expected delivery date of August 2018.

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