The US Navy has awarded Raytheon Missiles & Defense a $20 million contract to provide Maritime Strike Tomahawk seeker suites and subsystems.
According to the Department of Defense, the seeker will help the missile identify and target moving maritime targets from surface and subsurface platforms. The seeker suite and subsystem integration are expected to be complete by October 2024.
The contract has been modified from a previously awarded $493.4 million contract to upgrade and recertify Tactical Tomahawk Block IV missiles to the Block V version. The Block V has two varieties: Block Va, the maritime version for striking moving ships, and Block Vb, with an advanced warhead to hit “hardened” land targets such as reinforced concrete bunkers and command posts. The upgrade will extend the missile’s life by 15 years, Raytheon stated on its website.
Vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense Kim Ernzen was quoted by Defense Brief as saying that the “award is a significant and essential step toward addressing the US Navy’s need to counter moving targets at sea.”
“Maritime Strike Tomahawk Block Va production ensures our sailors have the most advanced long-range, first-strike weapons available to defeat advancing threats.”
The Tomahawk Block IV can hit a target precisely at a distance of 1,000 miles (1,609 km) “even in heavily defended airspace,” from ships and submarines. Its data link allows it to course-correct midway and even loiter for hours on command, Raytheon revealed.
The navy has procured around 4,000 Tomahawks since 2004, out of which about a tenth have been used in testing and operations.
The navy plans to upgrade the entire arsenal of Block IV into Block V, with an extended range and upgraded datalink and navigation system, while the existing Block III version will be retired.