Tomahawk is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile in service with the surface ships and submarines of the US and the UK’s Royal Navy
According to a contract released by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) on December 18, 2020, Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, is awarded a $145,101,510 modification (P00003) to previous contract N00019-20-C-0030. This modification exercises an option for the production and delivery of 90 full rate production Lot 17 Block V Tactical Tomahawk (TACTOM) All Up Round (AUR) Vertical Launch System missiles, including related hardware and services for the U.S. Navy.
A vertical launching system (VLS) is an advanced system for holding and firing missiles on mobile naval platforms, such as surface ships and submarines. Each vertical launch system consists of a number of cells, which can hold one or more missiles ready for firing. Typically, each cell can hold a number of different types of missiles, allowing the ship flexibility to load the best set for any given mission. Further, when new missiles are developed, they are typically fitted to the existing vertical launch systems of that nation, allowing existing ships to use new types of missiles without expensive rework. When the command is given, the missile flies straight up long enough to clear the cell and the ship, and then turns on course.
The Block IV Tomahawk is the current generation of the Tomahawk family of cruise missiles. The BGM-109 Tomahawk family began life in the 1980s as sub-sonic, low-flying nuclear strike weapons, before being developed into long-range RGM/UGM-109 conventional attack missiles.
The Block IV is the latest variant. It adds innovative technologies that improve combat flexibility, while dramatically reducing the costs to buy, operate, and support these missiles. That’s why the Block IV program, under US Navy PMA-280, has been one of the USA’s defense acquisition success stories over the last decade.