The US Navy has pitched for a modified Raytheon-built Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) to equip its surface ships or submarines in less than a decade.
Included in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request to Congress, a $434 million ask over the next five years is to modify 245 Raytheon TLAMS with a maritime attack capability, Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources, told USNI News during the West 2016 conference on Wednesday.
“It won’t be all the Tomahawks but a good number of them coming off the line will have it,” Mulloy said. “It’s going for surface first and the submarines will encapsulate it”.
According to the plan laid out in the Navy budget, the maritime attack modified Tomahawk will enter the surface force in 2021 for live testing and then trickle out to every platform that can fire the missile – currently the Ticonderoga guided missile cruisers, Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers the Navy’s attack submarine fleet (SSNs) and the four Ohio-class guided missile nuclear guided missile submarines (SSGNs).
The modification will be part of the Navy’s recertification and life extension of older Tomahawks, which – with new FY 2017 funding for new TLAMS – will be ultimately an inventory of 4,000 missiles.
The Navy had briefly fielded an anti-ship Tomahawk in the 1990s but the lower fidelity of contemporary sensors made the missile risky to use at long ranges for fear of hitting an unintended target.
News of the maritime TLAM follows Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s announcement of the development of an anti-surface mode of the supersonic Raytheon Standard Missile 6 anti-air weapon (AAW). Combined with the Tomahawk investment, the pair will be the first new anti-surface system the service has fielded in decades.