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Tomahawk Missiles To Be Replaced By Deadlier NGLAW: US Begins Tedious Replacement Process

First Posted: Apr 13, 2017 05:54 AM EDT
US Launches Airstrikes Against Syrian BAse

Photo : U.S. Navy via Getty Images/Ford Williams

Tomahawk missiles that pounded Shayrat Air Base in Syria on April 7 were a total of 59 U.S. Navy UGM-109E Land Attack Missiles. These missiles were part of military strikes ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump on Syria after a chemical weapons attack killed dozens of civilians in including a number of children.

Lately there are reports that the U.S. navy is already looking for more powerful, deadlier upgrades to Tomahawk missiles which are already considered outdated cruise missile models, Telegiz reported. The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has requested for information for the Next Generation Land Attack Weapon (NGLAW) in October 2016. The navy plans to use better and more powerful weapons to be launched from its submarines and warships just like the Tomahawk missiles which were launched from U.S. warships deployed in the Mediterranean. However, replacing the Tomahawk is a long process that could take longer than expected.

There are several criteria for the NGLAW system that will replace Tomahawk missiles. The navy is looking for a replacement based on technical readiness costs, schedules, risks associated with the development of the system and plans on retiring the current system in 2028 to 2030. The top candidate for NGLAW is the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) which is currently launched from an aircraft. The LRSAM can outsmart air-defense systems with its sensors and automatic flight technology.

The Tomahawk missiles launched in the latest Syrian air strike may be outdated but it was able to get the job done. The Tomahawk has speeds of 550 miles per hour and is launched at sea; it flies close to the ground to avoid being detected by radar. It was first used in the Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and holds a warhead with a thousand-pound explosive, CNN reported.

The navy planned to end the production of Tomahawk missiles in 2016 with a 200 Tomahawk per year rate. Obviously this did not happen with the latest project to produce more missiles awarded to Raytheon Company in December 2016. The company agreed to provide 214 Tomahawk Block IV vertical launch missiles under a $303.7 million agreement.

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