Home » Budget Industry » Navy, Raytheon Close to Finalizing Maritime Strike Tomahawk Missile Deal

Navy, Raytheon Close to Finalizing Maritime Strike Tomahawk Missile Deal

A Tomahawk cruise missile hits a moving maritime target Jan. 27, 2015 after being launched from the USS Kidd (DDG-100) near San Nicolas Island in California. US Navy Photo

TUCSON, ARIZ. — The Navy and Raytheon are close to signing a deal to integrate a new sensor into the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile to allow the missile to attack moving targets at sea, the head of the Navy’s Tomahawk program told USNI News on Tuesday.

Once the deal is complete, Raytheon will start work to craft and install a sensor to convert a yet-to-be-determined number of Block IV TLAMs into a Maritime Strike Tomahawk variant, said Capt. Mark Johnson, Naval Air Systems Command PMA-280 program manager.

“We’re signing the contract now, there will be a couple of year development effort to determine the configuration of the seeker to go into the missile and a couple of years to take it out and test it to accurately know what the performance is so the fleet will have confidence in the system,” Johnson said following a ceremony celebrating Raytheon’s delivery of the 4000th TLAM to the Navy.
“When maritime is ready to be cut into the Tomahawk, we’ll work with the resource sponsor to find out what the right number is.”

Raytheon and the Navy are still determining the type of sensor that they’d likely use, company TLAM program manager Dave Adams told USNI News on Tuesday. He indicated that the final product could be a multi-mode seeker with a mix of passive and active sensors.

The sensor will be installed into some Block IV missiles doing their midlife recertification in addition to other upgrades.

“We’re upgrading the radio, the harnessing and the antenna for the communication. So every recertified missile will get an upgraded navigation and communication,” Johnson said.

The missiles will also receive an unspecified upgrade to allow TLAMs to operate in a GPS denied environment and a warhead upgrade.

The recertification effort for the Block IV weapons will start in 2019 with the first MST variants to enter the fleet in the early 2020s.

A Tomahawk cruise missile hits a moving maritime target Jan. 27 after being launched from the USS Kidd (DDG-100) near San Nicolas Island in California. US Navy Photo

The MST was born in the midst of the surface Navy’s 2015 distributed lethality push and its effort to acquire more offensive weapons for the surface force.

While the Navy fielded an anti-ship variant of Tomahawk shortly in the 1990s, the sensor technology wasn’t sophisticated enough for long-range target discrimination and the weapons were quickly converted to standard land attack variants.

However, a 2015 NAVIAR test of a Block IV weapon – with external guidance – proved that a Tomahawk could hit a moving maritime surface target at range with more assurance than the old Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM) sensors.

Shortly after the test, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work praised the test and used it as an example of the thinking behind the Third Offset Strategy in developing new capabilities at minimal cost.

“This is potentially a game changing capability for not a lot of cost. It’s a 1000 mile anti-ship cruise missile,” he said.
“It can be used by practically by our entire surface and submarine fleet.”

  • Ed L

    Nice improvements, but is it Super Sonic?

    • John Locke

      That’s what I was thinking. Unless it is super stealthy (IR sensors negate that), at .7 mach it’s not much of a challenge for most current AAW suites to knock down.

      • DaSaint

        I agree. 1000 miles will take 2 hours transit, and the target could have moved 40-60 miles. Midcourse guidance is absolutely required, but even then, due to the relatively slow speed, it only makes real sense if this were tipped with a tactical nuke, and I don’t see that happening. Maybe this is destined to attack auxiliary/support, and lightly defended 2nd tier elements.

        Glad the pigeons survived.

        • Duane

          See my reply, and you see why this is a big deal.

        • Jason Clark

          Those pigeons are the spirit animals of the Iraqi man on the bike who cross the bridge in the 1st gulf war. 🙂

          • DaSaint

            You’re absolutely right! When I saw this I said to myself ‘Man, they’re toast!’ But alas, they appear to have survived. I can hear them now…Pigeon, Lucky Pigeon: shaken, singed, but not burnt (channeling James Bond there).

        • @USS_Fallujah

          The 1k mile range adds serious issues for the enemy surface force. A non-stealthy subsonic ASCM is still deadly without adequate AEW and require the force to radiate full time, which in turn makes tracking much simpler. Important to note that any PLAN ship at sea can be targeted for a ship tied to the pier in Guam, let along Yokashima, Singapore, etc.

          • John Locke

            They won’t need to radiate. The bad guys are investing in shipboard EO/IR sensors for general situational awareness and missile warning. Something flying at .7 mach detected at the horizon with say a 60 foot height of eye is going to give your combat systems plenty of time to react.

            I think you meant Yokosuka???

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I did, but the EO/IR defense you propose is completely inadequate and would be suicide for any SAG venturing out of port. Even radiating they surface ships are going to have an extremely small engagement envelope, EO/IR systems are going to have even less range and clarity of target, so you’ll end up with just enough notice to say “Oh shh” before something goes boom.

          • John Locke

            Not against something going .7 mach and actually the angular accuracy of EO/IR systems is better than radar.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            You still have the horizon to deal with, and high subsonic will cross that very quickly. I also don’t buy the IR portion of that being worth it’s salt in at sea conditions.

          • John Locke

            You’ll just have to trust me on that.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            No, I really don’t.

          • Duane

            If you do not realize you’re under attack, and you can only sense the wave-hugger within 5-15 nm (typical air search horizon depending upon antenna height above water), and the missile is cruising at 9-10 nm per minute, the target ship will have less than one minute to sense the attack, get a track on it, and lock on, and then fire before the missile has already struck.

          • John Locke

            Your knowledge of tactics and capabilities is dated.

          • Duane

            Tell that to the US Navy, which has been using subsonic sea skimming ASMs for decades, and continues to do so today, and will continue to do so. Ship based radar simply does not work with sea skimmers beyond the visible horizon. Supersonic ASMs don’t make any sense at all. A missile cannot outrun a radar return. It cannot maneuver safely at supersonic speeds down at wavetop level. Once the missile gets high enough to safely maneuver at supersonic speeds, it is easily sensed and taken out by supersonic ASMs.

            It’s really very easy to understand if you aren’t buying Russian propaganda.

          • El Kabong


            How long does it take for a Kashtan, Phalanx or Goalkeeper to react?

          • Duane

            How long did it take for the crew of the Fitz to react to the slow moving tanker on a collision path with their ship?

            We’re talking about people reacting, not machines.

          • El Kabong

            Answer the question.

          • Duane

            It’s actually not correct to call a Tomahawk “non-stealthy”. Stealth is not just airframe form or special coatings .. stealth also comes in wave-hugging and terrain hugging flight paths, just as submarines are stealthy too by swimming under the surface. The B1B was the first “stealth bomber”, long before the B-2 … because it was a ground hugger. Still is today.

            Ship based radar only works on targets above the horizon and perhaps a little beyond … to sense and track wave huggers requires a network of airborne look down radars, which the Chinese and Russians lack, and in a shooting war, would be amongst our first day targets for shootdown.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            That’s a complete mischaracterization of the term stealth but otherwise you’re dead on.

          • Duane

            No – stealth is nothing new. It’s one of the most ancient forms of warfare. Camoflage is stealth. If you can’t see it, or sense it, it’s stealthy.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            You’re all on your own with that, when you say stealth that is NOT what anyone is going to assume you mean.

          • Duane

            I am certainly not on my own. It’s warfare 101 … if millions of people don’t understand that, fault their education.

            Stealth goes back to the stone ages. The only thing that changes is the technology itself, not the concept.

            If you can’t sense it, it is by definition “stealthy”.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            When you say stealth, especially regarding things that fly no one is going to agree that flying sea skimmer or nap of the earth is what you’re talking about.

          • Duane

            And contrary to extremely common misperception, even what you say is the sole definition of stealth – i.e., low radar cross-section – does not even fully define how stealth is applied to aircraft designs today like the F-35, F22, and B-2. Stealth also involves reducing own emissions of RF as well as IR on aircraft.

          • DaSaint

            Duane is actually right on this point. Stealth is, ironically, multifaceted. It’s not just visible spectrums, it’s emissions, signatures, and operational profiles. The ‘common’ view of stealth is of an aircraft that cannot be easily detected at range by radar. There’s much more to it than that.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I’ll try that out the next time the USAF is retiring the A-10 because it’s not survivable.
            “actually the A-10 is very stealthy! It just uses trees and hills for camouflage, but that totally counts!

          • DaSaint

            GM USS_Fallujah. There are several reasons the A-10 is being retired, age being one of them. And yes, it’s operational profile from its inception, was to fly low just over the trees and hills and come in fast using it’s 30mm cannon plus other ordnance to tear up Warsaw Pact tanks and armored vehicles. That profile was designed to make it hard to detect by radar (I really don’t want to call it nap-of-the-earth, as that denotes utilizing a guidance system), and avoid major SAMs which were designed for higher-altitude profiles, but it would likely be susceptible to AA guns and shoulder-fired missiles if visually detected.

            But I digress…

            So to your point, the A-10s ‘operational profile’ may or may not have given it a degree of stealth, but I do notice you didn’t address the other 3 of the 4 aspects I listed that can also be associated with the term ‘stealth’. They were visible spectrums, emissions, and signatures.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            My issue is not that Stealth only applies to it’s radar cross section, but that radar avoidance is not a useful descriptor of stealth. My example is meant to be outrageous to highlight that.

          • DaSaint

            Well thanks for the clarity.

          • El Kabong


            Same goes for attack helicopters.

            According to the folks around here, they’re “stealthy”.

            Who knew?

          • El Kabong

            “The B1B was the first “stealth bomber”, long before the B-2 … because it was a ground hugger. Still is today.”?


            Using your flawed analogy, the F-111 was the first…

          • Duane

            Yes, you are correct, I should have written “heavy stealth bomber”. My point is the same.

          • El Kabong


            STILL wrong.

          • Bubblehead

            On the sub in ESM, we used to crack jokes on the AB’s blasting their Spy1 through the atmosphere thinking they were invincible. If only they knew….

          • @USS_Fallujah

            yea yea yea, two kinds of ships, Subs and Targets…my brother drove SSNs & Boomers for 27 years so I’ve heard them all.

      • Duane

        Easy for who?

        The Russians and Chinese and Iranians and NORKs have nowhere near the capabilities in either sensors or AMMs that the US and our NATO and Pac Rim allies have. They simply do not have the equivalent of AEGIS, or ESSM or SeaRam … technologies which they simply cannot afford to develop. Perhaps some day, decades in the future, but not any time soon.

        What we are doing is adding a new sensor capability to an existing inventory of missiles that was already scheduled to be upgraded.

        By incorporating the ability to use TLAMs for moving naval targets, we greatly increase the number of effective ASMs in theater, between the SSGNs and the Virginia class SSNs with VPM. Plus adding the existing TLAM inventory in the VLS of our existing DDGs and CGs. It’s a huge force multipler and deterrent to any of our existing opponents.

        • John Locke

          You really don’t need an Aegis equivalent to knock down something going .7 mach. The Soviets were doing that in the 70’s.

          • Duane

            You need far more than the typical ship based air search radar – to find and track sea skimmers you need airborne look down radars out at sea accompanying your ships, which the Russians and Chinese have very few of (one carrier each today).

            The Tomahawks are wave-hugging cruise missiles (or terrain hugging when over land), meaning they are undetectable by ship-based radars until very close to the target (within the visible horizon, and even then they are very hard to detect amongst the normal sea scatter of radar returns).

            The super sonic ASMs used by the Russians only travel supersonic in the terminal phase of their path, at which point, within a few miles of the target, the missile shoots up high and comes back down at high speed. For most of their approach the so-called supersonics fly subsonic. The USN, unlike the Russians and Chinese, have many carrier based and land based ISR aircraft (both manned and unmanned) and attack aircraft with look-down/shoot-down capability. The terminal phase maneuver of the Russian supersonics only makes it easy for them to be targeted, tracked and destroyed by our supersonic ESSMs and SeaRam AMMs. It’s actually much harder to track and hit a sea skimming maneuvering subsonic cruise missile. The Russian supersonics are all sizzle, no steak. Just like the Russians always do.

          • John Locke

            I think you’re underestimating Chinese and Russian ASMD capabilities.

          • Duane

            Based upon what? They have invested virtually nothing in AMM technology. The USA is the only nation in the world with a viable networked area anti-missile air defense system. To develop that system took several decades and many hundreds of billions in expenditures in ships, sensors, aircraft, and AMMs that no other navy possesses.

            The Rooskies and Chinese simply cannot afford what we have. And they can’t buy it from anyone else.

          • John Locke

            I can tell by your description of things that it’s gleaned from public literature.

          • Duane

            Its dollars, dude. You do realize that today the US spends more than ten times as much each year on defense as do the Russians. And much if not most of what the Russians spend is wasted in their kleptocracy where Putin and his buddies become billionaires living off the Russian taxpayer. It’s not much better in China, where government corruption has been an endemic problem for centuries.

          • Bubblehead

            China is building high end surface ships at a rate 4 times what the US is. And nobody really knows what China spends on defense, they do not release the true figures. An advantage of being a police state. The Russians and Chinese have invested heavily in asymmetric warfare. IE all the radar jamming, hacking, etc.

          • Duane

            The United States Navy, alone (not counting our very capable allies) has over 8 times the tonnage of warships than the Chinese today. The US Navy has 10 operational heavy/big deck CVNs today, the Chinese have zero. The Chinese have one 30-year refurbished Russian light carrier. Most of the Chinese navy is coastal defense only. The Chinese do not have area air defense (AEGIS). Only the US Navy and our allies have AEGIS or anything remotely close to AEGIS.

            On and on and on. It comes down to dollars – we have vastly more of them to spend, and we are spending them, and we are spending them much more effectively than the kleptocratic Chinese are … and we have naval allies, and the Chinese do not. We and our allies completely surround them on the Pac Rim … from the Aleutians through the Japanese Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Our friends like India provide additional envelopment.

            The Chinese are all alone, surrounded by age-old enemies, and by the USA.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            The PLAN seems to be doing a decent job creating an Aegis type system (how effective it is we don’t know), but they don’t appear to have anything close to NIFC-CA and without that and decent AEW any surface group is going to be in imminent danger the moment they leave port (and that’s not even getting into the torpedo threat from US/Allied SSNs).

          • Duane

            They’re working on it, sure. But they simply can’t afford what we can on our systems. Their defense spending is less than 1/4 of ours, and they have no effective allies with which to share the load in terms of weapons and platform and systems development such as we have. We are working cooperatively with a large number of allies including in the Pacific. For instance the Japanese and SKs and Aussies are participating in the F-35 program, which is basically a heavily armed airborne sensor and battle systems management network. We routinely perform fleet exercises with all of our Pacific allies as well as other non-aligned friendlies such as India and NZ. The Chinese are all alone, save for their nutty uncle in the attic (NK) and a Russia neighbor that has been at war with them for many centuries, as recently as the late 1960s, and via proxies (Vietnam and PolPot in Cambodia) as recently as the 1970s. They claim to be allies but it’s all for show.

          • El Kabong

            You REALLY need to brush up on adversary close in defence capabilities.

          • Duane

            The Russians are busted, broke. It takes massive investments in technology, ships, aircraft, sensors, and missiles to provide credible area missile air defense at sea.

          • El Kabong

            Ignore my advice at your peril.

            You only have yourself to blame for future ridicule and mocking…

          • @USS_Fallujah

            It’s not so much underestimating the AAW capability of PLAN or Russian escorts, but simple physics. Without AEW your vision is reduced to such a short distance even the best air defense system is going to struggle to survive a determined attack.

          • El Kabong

            The Royal Navy survived and won a war without it.

          • Duane

            Against the Argentinian navy? Consisting of WW Two era hulks and cast-offs and first generation ASMs.

          • El Kabong

            Nice display of ignorance, as usual.

            Go read up on the Argie Type 42 destroyers.

            Their modern Super Etendard aircraft and Exocet missiles, also.

            You know, the ones the NATO members used….

          • Duane

            First gen ASMs …. not today’s missiles. Used by a third world nation with zero experience in actual warfare prior to the Falklands debacle where they embarrassed themselves. In the early 80s the Royal Navy wasn’t much either, after 30 some years of neglect.

          • El_Sid

            The RN had pretty much sacrificed its bluewater ambitions to become NATO’s ASW force. Cash played a part in that, but it was the job that needed doing at the time. Once the Cold War was over, ASW frigates were cut and bluewater carriers were back on the agenda.

            AEW would have helped the RN, but the real problem was that Sea Dart was expecting Soviet-pattern missiles that were high and fast. All it took was a software update and the same hardware was able to shoot down a seaskimming missile fired at the Missouri in the Gulf.

          • El Kabong

            “First gen ASMs …. not today’s missiles.”?


            Exocets are STILL in service, junior…

            STILL used by NATO countries…

          • @USS_Fallujah

            There were actually using our AWACS and yes they survived and won, but it was painfully clear their AAW capability wasn’t up to the mission required of it. They lost ships to A-4s dropping iron bombs for Christ’s sake.

          • El Kabong

            “There were actually using our AWACS…”?


            Which ones?
            Where were they based?

            This ought to be good for a laugh.

            The Sea Harriers shot down a lot of Argies for ZERO losses, for christ sake.

            The Brits WON the war, for Pete’s sake.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            They won, yes, but the RN lost a lot of ships and lives because of a lack of proper indigenous AEW support.
            And yes, we flew E-3s from Homestead AFB to provide overwatch, but the distance was too far to provide proper AEW and the communications between the forces (and limitations of the technology available at the time) limited the usefulness of the support.

          • El Kabong

            “…lost a lot of ships…”?

            How many?

            ALL because of a lack of AEW support, eh?

            “And yes, we flew E-3s from Homestead AFB to provide overwatch, but the distance was too far to provide proper AEW and the communications between the forces…”?


            Cite a credible source to back up your claim.

            Florida is close to the Falklands?
            That’s priceless!

            I’m sure it’s the same source that says a Russian sub was sunk for getting too close to the RN task force…. *snicker*

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I love the “they won so everything was great” argument. You’d have fit in great on Stavka.

          • El Kabong

            I love your, “Ignorance is bliss” lifestyle choice.

            Makes for great comedy.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I’m not that one saying everything was peachy keen for the RN just because the campaign was ultimately successful. Navies all over the world looked at the Falklands campaign and address the need for AEW. Various interim measures have been adopted, but all suffer from the same problem. Without Cats & Traps it’s extremely difficult to provide robust AEW cover. VSTOL & helo AEW platforms lack lift and endurance leaving you vulnerable. It’s usually cited as the #1 reason the PLAN intends to use Cats & Traps for it’s 002 CV program. The RN (& USN) looked at various ways to provide AEW for their CV(LHA) platform, the Osprey being the lastest to get a look, with (I’m told) dubious chance of success.

          • El Kabong

            No, you’re the tinfoil hat wearing kid saying USAF E-3’s supported the Brits during the Falklands….

            Better luck, next time.

            “Various interim measures have been adopted…”?

            How long have the British Sea King ASc.7’s been in service?
            When are the Crowsnest Merlins replacing them?

          • @USS_Fallujah

            Interim measures, ie measure taken to provide AEW, but not to the level provided by a cat & trap aircraft like the E-2. Lots of navies have done this, but all those platforms lack the lift & endurance to provide a robust radar, at altitude for sufficient duration to give the proper AEW overwatch to protect a task force at sea away from land based AEW protection.
            And the E-3s did fly to support the Falklands campaign, obviously not very successfully, but it happened. I have this on first person account from men who flew and supported those flights. Accept it or not, you opinion is meaningless.

          • El Kabong

            “Interim measures…”?

            That’s adorable!

            Those “interim measure” Sea King AEW helos have been in service for how many decades now?

            The Merlin AEW helos are being introduced, when?

            “Lots of navies have done this…”?

            List them.

            “And the E-3s did fly to support the Falklands campaign…”?

            Cite your sources.

            I need a laugh.

            Otherwise all you spew is meaningless nonsense.

          • El_Sid

            you need airborne look down radars out at sea accompanying your ships,
            which the Russians and Chinese have very few of (one carrier each

            But like most navies, they don’t need a carrier for AEW – they learnt the same lesson that the British did in the Falklands, and created the Ka-31. It may not be as good as a Hawkeye, but it’s good enough. And it’s debatable whether you even need an aircraft, something like TALONS will get a radar up where it needs to be, 24/7.

            Also it’s not a simple question of budgets – you may have noticed that a Blueray player made in China costs $50, an equivalent made in the US might cost $200. So spending 4x the money ends up with an equal number of units. The US has one big advantage, the inventory resulting of 50+ years of high military spending, but as that kit wears out, the advantage reduces unless annual budgets are buying a lot more stuff per year than China. Another advantage are allies who are procuring advanced kit like aircraft carriers and 5th gen aircraft. On the other hand, China and Russia aren’t really trying to do the global bluewater thing just yet, they have much more of a regional focus so don’t need Gucci kit like minesweepers capable of bluewater transits.

          • Duane

            You’re not comparing comparable things. Military systems are not consumer systems.

            Russia aren’t merely dithering while thinking about creating militaries that will someday, when they get around to it, rival the US and our NATO and PacRim allies. They simply cannot even begin to afford to develop what we already have, and are adding to very significantly now and in the future. The Soviets tried keeping up with us in the 50s through 80s, and they bankrupted themselves and disappeared down the memory hole. Russia is a much smaller nation now than the Soviet Union was, and many of their former Warsaw Pact allies (puppet states) are now on our side. Russia cannot possibly hope to replicate what the Soviets did, and spectacularly failed at.

            The Russian and Chinese ASM sensors and AMMs are simply not comparable, and almost certainly it is impossible that they ever will become comparable. Both are already cutting back defense spending considerably from last year, while USA and allies are increasing our spending.

          • El_Sid

            Military systems are not consumer systems.

            Of course – but they are a product of an economic system, and if you’re talking budgets then you have to allow for purchasing power before you get to what really matters, which is military outputs.

            If it costs $40,000 of salary & benefits to employ 1 person in one country and $10k in another then the second country can have a wage budget that is a quarter of the first and yet still deploy as many infantry on the ground. If wages account for half the cost of making Weapon System X then WSX will cost a third less in the second country.

            They simply cannot even begin to afford to develop what we already have

            But they don’t need to to thwart Western strategic ambitions – just ask the VietCong or the Taliban. Defence good enough to create a stalemate is often sufficient to achieve strategic aims – ask heavy cavalry that went up against the Maxim gun. Say the US would need to spend $500bn to generate 11 bluewater carriers with planes and crew from fresh, and that it might cost $250bn to generate the same – why do that when they can achieve their aims with $10bn of DF-21s?

            Russia is a much smaller nation now than the Soviet Union

            Sure, although its oil is now worth rather more. Their defence budget is similar to the UK’s, but they get a lot more for the same spend. They are incredibly weak in some areas – their capacity to build large surface ships for one – but still retain strengths in others, such as materials science and submarines. They don’t have that broad spectrum capability that the West does – but then they don’t need to in order to achieve their aims.

          • Duane

            The Viet Cong were supplied by the Soviet Union – everybody knows that. The Taliban were easily thrown out by the NATO military, and have been practicing assymetric guerilla warfare ever since, and are again being supplied now by the Russians as well as the Iranians. That is a relatively cheap form of warfare, conducted entirely on land. Naval war requires a far greater financial investment than land based insurgent warfare.

            What we are discussions is near peer to peer naval warfare – which is a very expensive form of warfare that only well heeled nations can participate in. Your arguments utterly fail.

          • El_Sid

            Even so – regardless of the source, the combined spending of the Vietcong and Taliban was a tiny fraction of the US defence budget. How dare they practice assymetric warfare! And of course any future peer to peer war will only involve the red team playing “fair” and not resorting to asymmetric forms of war.

            And it’s always easier to be in defensive mode in your homeland than trying to wage offensive war thousands of miles from it, which means it is much easier for China to fight a defensive war in the SCS than for the US to take it from them.

            Plus amazing though some of the USN capabilities are, they still have weaknesses – notably not being able to refill VLS at sea. If the other side have bombers and ample supplles of ASuW missiles, Aegis soon runs out of SAMs.

          • El Kabong

            “…to find and track sea skimmers you need airborne look down radars out at sea accompanying your ships…”?


            Explain what the ARG’s use for air defence.
            Last I checked, they don’t carry AEW aircraft.

          • Duane

            Close in defense is just that – close in. Close in means very short time to sense, track, and lock on. Only airborne radars provide advance warning.

          • El Kabong

            AGAIN, try answering the question…

          • Duane

            Yup – that’s why they won the Cold War, no doubt about it, their technology was clearly superior to ours.


  • NavySubNuke

    I wish it were that simply — don’t forget that you need a nuclear certified fire control to launch them and that fire control must be integrated and installed on a certified ship with a certified crew. The warheads are in some ways the easy part!

  • NavySubNuke

    I seem to remember a big part of the decision to retire TLAM was because there was no fire control to support it and the cost of building, certifying, and installing one wasn’t viewed as worth it but I could be wrong.

  • Bulldogdriver

    High subsonic missiles can actually cruise and approach the target at a lower altitude than supersonic skimmers. And they have a lower size and thus radar cross section. The current Tomahawk also have a nose cone that decreases its RCS even further. And most importantly it has passive seeker moods that make its much more challenging to detect, identify and engage.
    The massive range of 1000 miles along with a passive seeker makes it an extremely dangerous weapons. Enemy warships will have to have its active radar sensor switched on and scanning the horizon constantly as there is no way to predict when a missile will streak in and blow it up. This way, the enemy warship will be constantly broadcasting its location and by doing so makes it so much more vulnerable to various modes of attack. Unless the Captain has the sheer cockiness the assume that the huge web of sensors available to the USN can’t find/engage him and keeps his radar silent. For which he is leaving himself completely naked to any attack if he is found.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Yes, it is often forgotten that while Russian/Chinese make speed their USP, they can’t get as low as subsonics can.

      “sea skimming” is a relative term.

    • Paul_Austin

      Tomahawks are -old- airframes. A nose cone cannot answer the LO mail. We’ve come a long way in reducing signatures in subsonic missile airframes, it’s time for the USN to move away from the 1970s vintage Tomahawk and Harpoon. They’d better, because the opponents defenses have gotten a lot better since the ’70s. JASSM/LRASSM (until hypersonic missiles are available) are the way to go.

      It misses the point to claim that a sea-skimming Tomahawk is “better” than a supersonic Chinese or Russian ASM. The question that must be answered is what is required to penetrate Chinese and Russian defenses.

  • Stephen Smith

    Back in 1983-84 I was assigned to the JCMPO as Director, Planned Product Improvement. One of the things I worked on was improving the TASM so that it could be assigned to attack specific targets. Two things were required to make this modification real. One was to change out one black box already in the TASM with one already developed for another system. Second, the capability of allowing the launch platform to assign a primary, secondary, and tertiary targets to the missile prior to launch was required.. This concept and design was presented to the Director, JCMPO just before I was transferred. The projected cost of this system was minimal given the budget constraints at that time. Too bad it was not developed and deployed. The Navy could have had a true call for fire ainti-ship weapon all of these years. Of course the TASM did not have the range of the TLAM but it was better than nothing.

  • Duane

    When the Soviets imploded, the Russians let their navy rust at the piers for the next dozen years. Putin did not have the resources to even operate his navy, let alone add capability (such as AEGIS) that the Soviets never had, and the Russians still don’t have it today. Their defense spending is less than 1/10 of US defense spending, never mind the spending by the rest of NATO and our west Pac allies. And what little spending the Russians do, they get very little out of it due to their thieving leaders like Putin and Medvedev who made themselves billionaires from their government salaries.

    Here’s an example – how many Russian aircraft carriers are there? One. Built in the 80s and is today a smoking hulk that cannot even land its own aircraft without splashing them due to arresting gear failures on their last run. It’s a joke.

    As for Russian aircraft, they’ve been working for 30 years to develop their stealth fighter .. now the Su 57. It’s a joke, and they’ve built a grand total of 9 “flyable prototypes”. Meanwhile the US developed and has built and is flying 187 F-22s and another 230 (and growing rapidly) F-35s that are flying and deployed and (in the case of Israel) already fighting and winning (destroying Syrian air defenses and taking out large Iranian weapons depots in Syria). On track for over 4,000 F-35s between the US and our allies, all networked together, performing joint exercises together.

    • Bubblehead

      The Chinese hacked the blueprints for ESSM, RAM, & Aegis (not to mention countless other systems); so yeah they have about what we have.

      • Duane

        You greatly overstate the Chinese hacking, which was much less than you claim.

        And no, the Chinese don’t have about what we have.

        And no, the Chinese cannot afford to develop what we have, or build and deploy what we have.

        The Chinese, and the Russians, have no effective allies with which to share weapons development, or to conduct joint deployment and use of networked forces. Forget about the Chinese and Russians claiming to be allies – they aren’t, that’s just for show. The Russians and Chinese have been enemies for thousands of years. The NORKs? Yeah, that’s a reliable ally. The US, on the other hand, has NATO and our West Pac allies (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan – with a wink and a nod – and Australia) and friends (NZ, India, the Philippines, and even Vietnam, China’s historic enemy to the south.

  • NavySubNuke

    If only it were that simple — do you have any idea how long it takes just to complete the surety reviews for individual piece parts of a system? The software reviews alone generally take years by the themselves as well. If the system isn’t built from the ground up with nuclear surety requirements in mind you might as well throw it out and start over — or have such a pressing national need people are willing to grant waivers.
    Good luck finding a national need so great that a flag is willing to sign up and say “we can’t be sure this system won’t allow a nuclear warhead to go off except for when we absolutely intend it to — but it probably will so we are going to deploy it anyway”.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Would have been nice if the target had been hit in the first layer of cargo containers instead of the third. Nothing above that level but blue sky and pigeon poo-poo. I assume the fireball after contact was un-expended fuel? Are Tomahawks liquid fuel or solid propellant? If the latter, what is the “shelf life” while at sea?

  • Tom R.

    How could the Obama and Bush White House have put the Navy in this predicament–that will take at least 4 years to maybe work out of–according to the article info provided. Now who is crazy–not Trump; but certainly Obama and Bush. tr

    • NavySubNuke

      If I remember correctly we actually withdrew the 109B’s from service during the Clinton administration because TLAM production had been shut down (I believe by Bush 41)— they were far to expensive to actually use after all — and they needed to convert the TASMs to LACMs to get us through the time until production could be restarted. Once production was restarted they never went back and remade any B’s because there weren’t any ship threats that Harpoon couldn’t handle.
      So it would really be more accurate to blame Bush 41 (probably), Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama.

  • Hugh

    Never forget history, the unpleasant surprise of Japanese capability in 1940, noting a regional capability. Also I hear sub-sonic missiles have a lower signature than supersonic ones.

  • NavySubNuke

    I don’t mean to sound like a complete a-hole but it is pretty obvious that you have never worked on actually getting a nuclear weapons system certified.
    That is understandable – not many folks have considering we pulled all the tactical nukes out of Navy in 1992 and maintained only a few regen SSNs afterwards and even that has been abandoned for almost a decade.
    It would be nice if it were as easy and simple as you think it is — and admittedly it could be if leadership is willing to waive all the requirements — but that just isn’t how it works.

  • El Kabong

    Clearly, you’ve been BUSTED.

    Please, spew more garbage and look more foolish.

    It’s amusing!

    Answer the questions.

  • El Kabong

    Please use more intelligence when commenting.


  • El Kabong

    Boy, do you love to troll…

    STILL waiting for you to back up your nonsensical claims……………………………………………

    • @USS_Fallujah

      I’ve responded, take it or leave it. I don’t care which.

      • El Kabong

        You’ve squirmed.

        I don’t care about your deleted comments. LOL!

  • El Kabong

    Don’t go away mad, just go away SCHOOLED.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      What are we arguing about anyway?
      I say USAF flew E-3s in support of the Falkland Campaingn, you don’t believe me. Fine.
      I say helo based AEW is far inferior to fixed wing AEW like the E-2D, you disagree. Fine.

      • El Kabong

        You spew nonsense with ZERO facts to back it up.


        Can you land a Hawkeye on a destroyer? A cruiser?
        A ship without a catapult or arrestor gear?


        Guess your E-2’s are UTTERLY USELESS, in that case.

  • El Kabong

    Shoo troll.

    You’re not impressing anyone.

  • vegass04

    Holly s… If anybody wanted an example of something wrong with US military acquisition system – look no further. So Raytheon, the world’s leading and largest missile manufacturer says “It will take few years to install and this new seeker on Tomahawk and a couple of years to test it”..WTF?? You’ve got seekers in house left and right, from AMRAAMs to Patriot to Kinetic kill vehicle on Ground based midcourse system. And you need “couple of years” to install them and test them on Tomahawk?? What if US Navy gave you a program to build a new anti ship missile? WHen would we get it? Around 2045?? If something doesn’t change we’re fuc… Russians have developed a whole new hypersonic anti ship missile Tsirkon in 6 years and Lockheed has been developing LRASM since 2008, that’s 10 years and finally its ready for service. And its a reworked JASSM-ER missile, not a brand new design. Sad…