The US Navy has awarded Raytheon two separate contracts for work on the delivery of the new Block V Tomahawk cruise missiles and upgrading existing Block IV variants to the newest version.
The first contract, worth $493.4 million, will see the company recertify and modernize Block IV all-up round missiles to include the integration of navigation and communication kits that result in a modernized Block V missile.
According to the Tomahawk Weapons System Program Office head, Capt. John Red, the navy will upgrade its entire inventory of Tomahawk cruise missiles to the Block V configuration.
The Pentagon contract announcement from March 27 did not specify how many Block IV Tomahawks Raytheon is set to upgrade, stating only that work is to be completed by September 2023.
The second contract awarded to the company is worth $147.9 million and will see Raytheon deliver 90 all new Block V Tomahawk missiles, with work to be completed by 2022.
Block V is the latest version of the tried and tested missile that first entered service in the 1970s.
The newest series will come in three variants. The Block V will feature upgraded navigation and communication, while a Block Va variant will introduce a “Maritime Strike Tomahawk” capable of hitting moving targets at sea. The final version is the Block Vb, which will feature a joint multi-effects warhead (JMEWS) that can hit more diverse land targets.
Designed to incorporate both blast-fragmentation and enhanced penetration capabilities, the JMEWS was first tested by the navy in 2010.