Saturday, May 15, 2010

U.S. 7th Fleet Controls Tomahawk Launch from 5,000 Miles Away

Sailors aboard the Los Angeles class attack submarine USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) wave to family members as the submarine pulls into port returning from deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multi-national coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Photo: U.S. Navy/Mate Airman Benjamin D. Glass)

15 May 2010, USS CHEYENNE, At Sea (NNS) -- Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Cheyenne (SSN-773) in conjunction with Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet and members of Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG) 3 successfully fired a Block IV-E Tomahawk Land Attack Missile May 5.

The missile launch took place off the southern coast of California into China Lake Test Range and marks the first time a forward-deployed operational command acted as the Tomahawk strike coordinator and primary missile controller for an operational test launch.

"The Navy's ability to conduct strike operations on re-locatable targets is currently very challenging," said Master Chief Fire Controlman (SW) David Brewer, U.S. 7th Fleet Tomahawk strike coordinator. "By proving an operational commander's ability to use the Tactical Tomahawk Command and Control System's ability to receive real-time targeting coordinates and applying them to a tactical Tomahawk missile in flight will significantly improve the Navy's ability to shape the battlefield and project power from the sea, particularly, when naval surface strike is the only fires option available to the commander."

"I am proud of the work we have accomplished during this exercise," he said. "With this being the staff's first time providing real time operations in flight, the job by the entire team was exceptional. The training value gained from a live firing event has no substitute, and will absolutely improve C7F's ability to conduct actual launch operations when required.

NSWG-3 provided updated target data used by 7th Fleet to modify the missile's flight path, resulting in a destroyed target. The test launch demonstrated a complex strike capability and was a tremendous success for all involved.

"Teamwork is critical in naval fires," Brewer said. "This test launch is the ultimate use of different operational assets we provided during this exercise to achieve common goal. "

This test continues the Navy's formal government testing of the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Systems from surface/sub-surface launch platforms.

The Tomahawk missile is ship and submarine launched and was first employed operationally during Desert Storm. Since then, the missile has been heralded for its accuracy and lethality in numerous operations. The tactical Tomahawk boasts several enhancements as demonstrated today, which increase warfighter effectiveness and responsiveness, while significantly reducing acquisition and life cycle costs.


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