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05 May 16. TacTom tech: developing Tomahawk in Block IV and beyond.
Despite a somewhat chequered programme history of late, with the US Navy (USN) having proposed in fiscal year 2015 (FY 2015) to reduce funding and inventory acquisition numbers, the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile is going through something of a strategic renaissance.
Today, US political leaders are looking to increase in size and expand in distribution the US armed forces’ precision-strike capabilities. This move comes in response to concerns that growing anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities will restrict the ability of these forces to operate as, when, and where required. As a result, plans are now in place to add a suite of new capabilities to the latest iteration of Tomahawk – the RGM/UGM-109E Block IV Tactical Tomahawk (TacTom). In particular, with such A2/AD risks perhaps being exemplified by the growing presence and operation of other major navies around the world, notably those of China and Russia, development plans for TacTom in the short term may see the return of a capability option for Tomahawk previously discarded by the navy – that of an anti-ship capability.
The USN and manufacturer Raytheon will begin the process of upgrading the Tomahawk missile inventory in FY 2019, introducing enhancements to the weapon’s electronics, energetics and other systems. Each missile requires re-certification at the 15-year point in its life cycle, enabling it to continue to operate for another 15 years and allowing the navy and Raytheon to integrate new capabilities. Block IV first entered USN service in 2004, so the first missile is due to start the re-certification process in 2019.
Once back in Raytheon’s factory in Tucson, Arizona, each missile will be removed from its canister and disassembled down to a level where all of the components can be examined, Captain Mark Johnson, the USN’s Tomahawk Weapons Systems (PMA 280) programme manager, told IHS Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 May 16. GBSD RfP expected in weeks. Key Points:
• A GBSD RfP is expected by next month
• Industry is currently providing feedback on a draft version
The US Air Force (USAF) is moving ahead with plans for replacing the Boeing LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with a final request for proposals (RfP) expected to be released by May, Lieutenant General Jack Weinstein, deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, told IHS Jane’s during a 3 May interview at the Pentagon.
“The RfP is being worked right now,” the general said. “It’s either going to be [released] this month or next month.”
The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) programme – previously known as Minuteman IV – has been emerging as an iterative effort for replacing the ageing ICBMs, but maintaining much of the infrastructure and associated components. According to a request for information (RfI) released in January 2015, the USAF is seeking a Minuteman III replacement that “replaces the entire flight system, retains the silo-basing mode while recapitalising the infrastructure, and implements a new Weapon System Command And Control (WSC2) system”. The government is also considering renovations for the ICBM’s Launch Control Centers (LCC) and Launch Facilities (LF) as well as “options to reduce/streamline the current LCC/LF architecture”. For now, the RfI said modifications and replacements “must be made with a focus towards minimising associated maintenance/logistics impacts”, and the existing Mk12A and Mk21 re-entry vehicles (RV) in the single and multiple RV configurations would be used (although the remainder of the missile stack is to be replaced).
A draft version of the RfP is being reviewed by the three potential prime contractors, according to Lt Gen Weinstein. “There’s three big players r