Raytheon awarded contract for 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles

Not surprisingly after the 14-april massive air raid on Syria, Raytheon has won another contract for Tomahawk cruise missiles. This contract is worth $143,270,000 and exercises an option for 100 full-rate production Lot 15 Tomahawk Block IV all-up-round vertical launch system missiles. Work on this contract is expected to be completed in August 2020.

Raytheon awarded contract for 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Firing of a Tomahawk cruise missile (Picture source: US navy)

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile that is primarily used by the United States Navy and Royal Navy in ship and submarine-based land-attack operations.

Introduced by General Dynamics in the 1970s, the Tomahawk missile family consists of a number of subsonic, jet engine-powered missiles designed to attack a variety of surface targets. Although several launch platforms have been deployed or envisaged, only sea (both surface ship and submarine) launched variants are currently in service. Tomahawk has a modular design, allowing a wide variety of warhead, guidance, and range capabilities. The Tomahawk project was originally awarded to Applied Physics Laboratory near Laurel, Maryland by the US Navy. James H. Walker led a team of scientists to design and build this new long-range missile. The original design, updated with advanced technology, is still used today.

In October 2015, Raytheon announced the Tomahawk had demonstrated new capabilities in a test launch, using its onboard camera to take a reconnaissance photo and transmit it to fleet headquarters. It then entered a loitering pattern until given new targeting coordinates to strike.
By January 2016, Los Alamos National Laboratory was working on a project to turn unburned fuel left over when a Tomahawk reaches its target into an additional explosive force. To do this, the missile's JP-10 fuel is turned into a fuel air explosive to combine with oxygen in the air and burn rapidly. The thermobaric explosion of the burning fuel acts, in effect, as an additional warhead and can even be more powerful than the main warhead itself when there is sufficient fuel left in the case of a short-range target.

In 1992-1994, McDonnell Douglas Corporation was the sole supplier of Tomahawk Missiles and produced Block II and Block III Tomahawk missiles and remanufactured many Tomahawks to Block III specifications. In 1994, Hughes outbid McDonnell Douglas Aerospace to become the sole supplier of Tomahawk missiles. It is now manufactured by Raytheon. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense purchased 149 Tomahawk Block IV missiles for $202.3 million. As Tomahawks have become routinely part of U.S. foreign military operations, more and more orders have followed, and will keep following.