CHINA LAKE, Calif. (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's new Tomahawk cruise missile, Block IV or Tactical Tomahawk, was launched May 8 from an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Stethem (DDG 63).
The event marked the second launch of the Tactical Tomahawk from an operational surface ship and the first live warhead demonstration.
The missile blasted from the vertical launching system and transitioned to cruise flight for the 760 nautical mile mission to target impact on San Clemente Island.
The missile flawlessly navigated the assigned mission through the use of global positioning satellite and Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator. The test successfully demonstrated the unique Block IV weapon system communication capability between Stethem and the in-flight missile. Using the Tomahawk Strike Network, messages were sent from the ship, successfully retargeting the missile and collecting bomb damage indication information. The missile performed a planned terminal air-burst maneuver and destroyed the satellite antenna target.
The Tomahawk missile is ship and submarine launched, and was first employed operationally during Desert Storm. Since then, the missile has been heralded for its accuracy and lethality in numerous operations. The Tactical Tomahawk boasts several enhancements as demonstrated today, which increase warfighter effectiveness and responsiveness, while significantly reducing acquisition and life cycle costs. The missile will become operational in the middle of 2004.
"I am extremely proud of USS Stethem's contributions to the Tactical Tomahawk program," said Cmdr. David Melin, commanding officer. "Every shot is a significant program milestone that gets us one step closer to fielding this next-generation force multiplier for the Navy's land attack warfare mission. The efforts of the 340 'steelworkers' of USS Stethem, program offices, land-based test sites and contractors are paying huge dividends, as evidenced by this second flawless launch from Stethem and fifth perfect flight of the Block IV missile."
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