U.S. Navy Tomahawk missiles demonstrate mid-flight re-targeting and reconnaissance capabilities

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  1. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    U.S. Navy Tomahawk missiles demonstrate mid-flight re-targeting and reconnaissance capabilities
    http://mil-embedded.com/news/u-s-na...re-targeting-and-reconnaissance-capabilities/

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    SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, Calif. The U.S. Navy completed a missile exercise with Raytheon’s Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile. The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate the missile's strike controllers, located at multiple fleet headquarters, can control and redirect multiple missiles simultaneously.

    During the exercise, a tomahawk missile - launched from the USS Gridley (DDG 101) - took a reconnaissance photo and follow-up orders to re-target in mid-flight. It used its onboard camera to capture battle damage and then transmitted the image to fleet headquarters via its two-way UHFSATCOM datalink.

    While the missile entered a loiter pattern awaiting further instructions, strike controllers at the U.S. Fifth fleet in Bahrain re-targeted the missile to a new aim point at San Nicolas Island on the Navy’s range off the coast of southern California. Officials state that the missile performed a vertical dive and struck its designated target.

    Only one missile was a live launch to reduce testing costs, the rest were computer simulations through various missions directed by forward deployed strike controllers.
     
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  2. Sven

    Sven Teh Viking dood Industry Professional Ret. Military

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    Really cool capability! Seems to be inline with the new US military though process of "save money, but not at the expense of capability". Not only will Tomahawk be able to assess battle-damage and allow war-fighters an opportunity to determine whether or not to strike a target again, if it's not sufficiently degraded, but it can also prevent additional causalities in built-up areas, especially in the mid-term following a strike when emergency crews gather near the strike area to remove casualties, and thus put themselves in danger.

    *This man is a civil-defense worker, but he illustrates the danger emergency crews put themselves in following a strike - he is conducting EOD operations on a Russia cluster munition... if another strike occurred, he'd be another casualty.
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    *Again, following a strike civilians tend to gather. They don't know if another strike is incoming due to poor damage assessment or a desire to ensure the target is degraded - this new capability allows war-fighters to ensure the target is destroyed and avoid striking the same target again, which helps limits civilian casualties.
    [​IMG]

    *the source of the above photos is - http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/08/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKCN0S20J920151008

    In the long-run this also save the military money. Yes, they did launch another Tomahawk to assess the damage done by a previous one, so that's already the cost of two missiles, but rather than launch two against a single target to ensure it's degraded, and further missiles against additional targets, now they can launch a single missile at a target, degrade the target and launch a second missile to strike if needed, following a damage assessment by the missile itself, and if a strike isn't needed it can be vectored elsewhere or continue with its ISR mission.

    It takes the guesswork out of real-time strike damage assessments.

    And I wonder if this could be a precursor to an ability to strike moving targets at ultra-long ranges? If they can use the camera to assess battle-damage, can they also use it to track targets in real time? If so then moving targets could be engaged.

    It seems that's already being worked out:

    Raytheon, the missile’s developer is also developing a new seeker designed to hit moving targets at sea or on land, in darkness and under all weather conditions. Other enhancements planned for the Tomahawk Block IVweapon include the integration of upgraded communications and a more powerful multi-effects warhead. Other enhancements implemented in the Block IV include a ‘sea-skim’ mode – low-altitude flight over water at high subsonic speeds. The Block IV missile is capable of loitering over a target area in order to respond to emerging targets or, with its on-board camera, provide battle damage information to warfighting commanders. “We are modernizing Tomahawk to stay ahead of the threat,” said Jeff Meyer, a Tomahawk business development manager at Raytheon. “The tests are designed to prove Tomahawk can hit a moving target and targets at sea, and that the missile isn’t affected by smoke or other obscurants such as bad weather.”

    http://defense-update.com/20150206_synthetic_tomahawk_cruise_missile.html

    ...

    The Block IV is becoming an all-facet, all-mission monster these days:

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    I can't wait to see what its replacements capabilities offer!
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
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