- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The U.S. Navy is thinking outside the box when it comes to plans to replace the iconic Tomahawk missile.

Naval Air Systems Command is looking for ideas for its Next-Generation Land Attack Weapon (Nglaw), but officials are making it clear to interested vendors that a “family of systems” and “new weapon designs” will be considered.

A request for information (RFI) released Oct. 28 says an idea for a Tomahawk replacement does not need to resemble the weapon, which was made famous during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

“[The RFI] mentions neither ‘cruise’ nor “missile,’” Aviation Week reported Monday. “That widens the range of creative concepts that industry might put forward, such as autonomously swarming, limited-life kamikaze drones — which feature prominently in the Pentagon’s so-called Third Offset Strategy.”

The military website added that planning for Nglaw is underway now to ensure it comes online by the 2030s. Seed money for the project has already been allocated, and additional funds will be freed up when production of the newest Tomahawk Block IV ends in fiscal 2018.

The Navy wants letters of intent from prospective vendors to arrive by Nov. 10.

“Candidate solutions will be assessed with respect to mission effectiveness; programmatic, technical and operational risk; development and total ownership cost; and overall system affordability,” the RFI states, Aviation Week reported. “This RFI will provide the Navy with distinct alternatives as well as emerging and existing technologies that could be applied to the Nglaw solution set.”

Officials also expect possible vendors to address their product’s “maximum range, flight profile, terminal-phase maneuvers, lethality, signatures, geometry, major subsystems and mass.”

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