The US Navy has successfully completed back-to-back flight trials of the Raytheon-built Tomahawk Block IV missile cruise missile to demonstrate its recent software improvements.
During the first test, a Tomahawk Block IV missile was launched from the US Navy's Los Angeles-class submarine USS Hampton (SSN-767) vertical capsule launch system, flew in a pre-planned mission until directed to a new target by strike control personnel.
Prior to striking the updated target at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake weapons range, the missile successfully demonstrated its enhanced flex retargeting.
During the second flight test, a Tomahawk Block IV missile was launched by the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), following which the missile flew a series of pre-planned high altitude manoeuvres and validated its improved performance.
Following a pre-planned vertical dive, the missile successfully intercepted a target on San Nicolas Island off the Southern California coast.
Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice-president Mike Jarrett said: "These flight tests demonstrate how Raytheon and the US Navy are working together to enhance this already sophisticated weapon.
"By constantly improving Tomahawk, we are helping to ensure that US and allied warfighters have this critical capability far into the future."
Since 2006, the US navy has carried out more than 70 successful Tomahawk Block IV flight tests.
The cruise missile, which has been deployed in combat more than 2000 times to date, is the key weapon used for defeating integrated air defence systems and striking heavily defended high value targets.