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Tomahawk demos new capabilities

By Richard Tomkins

SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, Calif., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's networked Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile has demonstrated new capabilities in a special test conducted with missile-maker Raytheon.

In the test, a missile was launched from the destroyer USS Gridley carrying a camera, and captured battle damage indication imagery and then transmitted the image to fleet headquarters with a two-way UHF SATCOM datalink.

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The missile then engaged in a loiter pattern to await further instructions. Strike controllers at the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain retargeted the missile to a new aim point on a Navy range off the coast of California, which it successfully struck.

"We have once again proven the flexibility and utility of the Tomahawk Block IV missile, which has an unprecedented record of reliability and combat success." said Dave Adams, Raytheon Tomahawk senior program director.

Raytheon said the test was to demonstrate that missile's strike controllers at multiple fleet headquarters can control and redirect multiple missiles simultaneously.

Only one of the large salvo of missiles was a live-fire event, Raytheon said. Other missiles were flown in computer simulations as a cost-saving measure.

"Tomahawk continues to be the weapon of choice for combatant commanders requiring very long range, precision strike, with the flexibility to loiter and re-direct after launch," said Adams. "No other weapon has this capability."

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