The US Navy and Raytheon have tested a network-enabled Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile, successfully demonstrating that it can take a reconnaissance photo and follow orders to re-target in mid-flight.
Launched from the guided missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), the missile used its onboard camera to capture battle damage indication imagery during the test.
In addition, the missile was able to transfer the image to fleet headquarters through its two-way UHF SATCOM datalink.
Raytheon Tomahawk senior programme director Dave Adams said: "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."
As part of the test, strike controllers at the US Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain retargeted the missile to a new aim point on the navy’s range at San Nicolas Island, off the coast of southern California.
According to Raytheon, the missile performed a vertical dive and struck the designated target.
The latest test was aimed to demonstrate that the missile’s strike controllers can control and redirect multiple missiles simultaneously.
Adams added: "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.
"No other weapon has this capability."
The test used only one of the large salvo of missiles for a live launch to reduce the cost. However, the remaining were flown through computer simulation.
In August, the US navy and Raytheon conducted a flight test of Tomahawk Block IV, demonstrating the mission missile recording a direct hit on its target.
The flight test proved that the missile can operate with an improved, more flexible mission planning capability.