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Pinckney Launches Block 4 Tomahawk

By ENS Alysha Haran, USS Pinckney (DDG 91) Public Affairs Officer

SAN DIEGO – USS Pinckney (DDG 91) successfully launched the latest version of the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM), the Block 4-E, on Thursday, April 1, 2009.

The test launch was the first of its kind to incorporate new operating software as well as the real-time use of imagery collected from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The test demonstrated the capability of land-based forces to use the UAV information to generate new target coordinates, which were then transmitted to the in-flight missile using the Tomahawk Strike Network satellite communications system. Joint Commanders are no longer limited to satellite imagery that may be outdated. This reduced response time and flexibility are key advantages in an asymmetrical warfare environment. The test took place on the Naval Air Systems Command test ranges, launching near Point Mugu off the coast of southern California and flying to a target near China Lake, Calif., some 300 miles away.

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is the Navy’s primary surface-launched strike weapon. Designed to hit over the horizon targets with an extremely high degree of accuracy, collateral damage can now be kept to a minimum. The older Block-3 variant of the Tomahawk was a ‘Fire and Forget’ weapon that once launched could not be diverted from its target.

The successful launch was the result of a multifaceted effort over several months of planning, pre-runs and coordination. “Once again USS Pinckney proved they were ready to execute TLAM tasking. PMA 280 System Test extends their appreciation for all the effort and hard work of the crew to execute this unique TLAM tasking,” said Pablo Dasalla, NAVSEA’s Platform Test Coordinator for Operational Test Launch.

Those responsible for mission planning, platform preparations, range coordination and final execution included civilians and Navy personnel from Commander, U.S. Third Fleet; Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet; Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force; PMA-2805 and PMA-281; Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division; Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division; Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, Point Mugu; Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, China Lake; Raytheon Missile Systems; Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory; Science Applications International Corporation; COMGLOBAL Systems, Inc. and Pinckney.

This is the third Tomahawk missile that has been fired from the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer and represents one of Pinckney’s many capabilities as she prepares for her upcoming deployment as part of Carrier Strike Group 11.

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