USS PRINCETON Successfully Completes Test Launches of Tomahawk and Harpoon Missiles
By Ens. Ronald Baldwin, USS Princeton Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - USS PRINCETON (CG-59) successfully launched a Block III-C Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) as well as a Block II RGM-84L Harpoon Missiles on Wednesday, September 9 and Thursday, September 10, 2009. The launches occurred in the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Sea Test Range off the coast of Southern California.
The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is the Navy’s highly accurate over the horizon surface-launched strike weapon while Harpoon is used for surface to surface engagements. The success of the TLAM mission demonstrated the capability of the Tomahawk Weapon System to achieve the required missile accuracy. It also validated PRINCETON’s recently upgraded Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System (TTWCS). “This was PRINCETON’s first time to launch a Tomahawk using TTWCS V5, and PRINCETON’s Strike team proved they could execute TLAM tasking and overcome complications along the way,” said Pablo Dasalla, NAVSEA’s Platform Test Coordinator for Operational Test Launches(OTL).
The Tomahawk missile flight path was nearly two hours and included over water segments on the Sea Test Range followed by overland segments before reaching its final target over 300 miles away. The missile impacted its target, an A-4 aircraft that was positioned in a revetment, on the NAVAIR Land Test Range in China Lake, Calif. FC3 Patrick Tully, the ship’s TLAM Engagement manager, said, “Most of the time our guys don’t get to shoot a Tomahawk, so I consider us pretty lucky.”
The Harpoon Block II missile, equipped with a redesigned Guidance Control Unit (GCU), flew for the first time on Thursday, September 10.
The missile was launched from the PRINCETON off the coast of California and scored a direct hit on a land-based target on San Nicolas Island, Calif.
The new GCU, which controls most of the missile's functions, incorporates a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to improve GPS security. In addition, the GCU resolves obsolescence issues and can accommodate possible future implementation of a data link for network centric operations.
The upgrade added GPS capability to the missile giving it more precision and the capability to fire not only on surface ships but also on land targets.
The successful launches were invaluable training for PRINCETON’s crew and a great representation of the many capabilities of the upgraded Ticonderoga Class Cruisers.