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Sun, Apr 08, 2007

Sub-Launched Tomahawk Missile Test A Smashing Success

Ever Wonder What A Missile Looks Like RIGHT Before Impact?

Sources within the US Navy tell ANN the successful first test of a submarine torpedo tube-launched Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile was conducted at the Navy's missile range off the coast of southern California March 26.

Launched from the Los Angeles-Class attack submarine USS Pasadena (SSN-752), the missile transitioned to cruise flight and flew a satellite-guided 635-nautical mile test flight to the NAVAIR Land Range at the NAVAIR Weapons Division in China Lake, CA.

Test parameters included a successful re-direction of the missile in flight to an alternate flight route, and an alternate target using satellite communications. The one-hour, 26-minute flight concluded with a commanded 60 degree dive to the new aim point on the target.

"Today's successful event demonstrates Tomahawk's full range of capability," remarked Tomahawk program manager, Capt. Rick McQueen, "as well as the government/industry team's commitment to excellence."

The Tomahawk cruise missile is a surface ship and submarine-launched long-range, subsonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare. It is designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds, and can be flown on evasive routes by several mission-tailored guidance systems. Tomahawk missiles are deployed throughout the world's oceans on numerous surface ships and submarines, including Aegis cruisers, guided missile destroyers, and Seawolf and Los Angeles-class submarines.

McQueen stated that, like the Block III missile, the Block IV Torpedo Tube Launch missile is an all-weather, survivable cruise missile that can be launched from submarines. "The redesign brings improvements to missile navigation, guidance, and communications subsystems," he said.

As in all Tomahawk flight tests, air route safety was carefully planned in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. For safety purposes, the Tomahawk could have been guided by commands from chase aircraft.

The reason for such strident safety measures is obvious: so the scene above -- of the Tomahawk test missile, exactly ONE SECOND before impact -- is seen only exactly where it's supposed to be. If that picture doesn't send shivers down your spine, you might want to check your pulse...

FMI: www.navair.navy.mil

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