- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2002

TUCSON, Ariz. A prototype Navy cruise missile that has the capability of being directed to a different target while in flight was successfully launched underwater for the first time Sunday.

Raytheon announced that the event completes the demonstration test-flight phase (DT-1) of its program to develop the Tactical Tomahawk, a cruise missile that can strike one of as many as 15 preprogrammed targets, or even be directed to an entirely new location while in flight.

"The resounding success of DT-1 and the entire test-flight program demonstrates that the Navy-Raytheon team will be delivering a strike weapon with transformational capabilities," said Navy Capt. Bob Novak, a manager of the Tomahawk program.

Those capabilities will allow cruise missiles to lurk in the sky over a battlefield for several hours until a suitable target is identified and its location is fed into the rocket's guidance system.

The Tactical Tomahawk is also equipped with a television camera that can be used by ground commanders to gain a bird's eye view of the battlefield.

Current cruise missiles do not have the ability to be steered toward a new target once it is in the air, which limits its value in a battle when both enemy and friendly forces are constantly moving.

The Tactical Tomahawk is scheduled to be introduced in 2004 and will be deployed aboard both submarines and ships. The Navy plans to obtain more than 1,300 of the missiles over the life of the program at a cost of around $575,000 per copy, nearly half of the cost of the Navy's current Tomahawk.

Sunday's test flight was fired from an underwater launcher off San Clemente Island, 50 miles west of San Diego. The missile seamlessly skimmed across the ocean and continued over land to the China Lake Test Range, in the desert about 200 miles to the northeast.

The successful flight moved the Tactical Tomahawk a major step closer to full production.

"We are excited to have completed this demanding flight, which marks the end of the demonstration flight test phase," said Louise Francesconi, the president of Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson. "This major milestone allows the Navy to proceed into the technical evaluation period of the program."

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