The US Navy (USN) DDG-51 Flight IIA guided missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) has conducted the first operational tests of the Tomahawk Block V cruise missile. A modernised and recertified Tomahawk Block IV missile, the new Block V variant embodies an upgraded navigation/communication (NAV/COMMs) package as a baseline capability. The NAV/COMMs upgrade delivers enhanced navigation performance and more robust and reliable communications.
Chafee , part of the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group, undertook a first Block V firing during an exercise on a Pacific test range on 30 November. The event “marked the first time a Block V Tomahawk, the weapon’s newest variant, was operationally tested, marking the navy’s transition to a more advanced capability for the fleet”, said the US Department of Defense in a statement. A second Tomahawk Block V was fired from Chafee on 1 December.
The missiles hit targets at ranges on San Nicolas Island and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California. During the tests, both missiles were redirected mid-flight to different targets using their new communications systems.