The multi-function processor, developed by Raytheon using its own funding, will enable the missile to navigate to and track moving targets that are emitting radio frequency signals.
"Completion of this test is a significant milestone in Raytheon's effort to quickly and affordably modernize this already advanced weapon for naval warfighters," said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president. "We have assessed our company-funded multi-mission processor at Technical Readiness Level 6, enabling it to move to the engineering, manufacturing and development phase.
“Besides Tomahawk, the processor could be used in other sophisticated weapon systems."
For the test, a T-39 aircraft was fitted with a Tomahawk with its nosecone equipped with passive antennas integrated with the new modular processor. The passive seeker and processor received signals from targets in a high-density electromagnetic environment while the plane flew at different altitudes.
Raytheon said an active seeker test with the processor inside a Tomahawk nosecone is planned for early next year and will show its ability to broadcast active radar as well as passively receive target electromagnetic information.
The Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile weighs 2,900 pounds, a range of 1,000 miles and a speed of 550 miles per hour. It is carried on all major U.S. warships, including submarines.