Naval Air: November 17, 2002

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The navy successfully tested it's new Tactical Tomahawk earlier this month. The missile was launched from an underwater container (to simulate a submarine) and flew inland where it hit a target 320 kilometers inland. The Tactical Tomahawk can be programmed to hit one of up to 15 different targets stored in its computer memory. The missile can also carry a TV camera, and broadcast video back to the ship that launched it. The missile can also circle a target area for several hours, until a suitable target shows up. If the remaining tests are successful, the missile will enter service in 2004. The navy is buying 1300 of them at about $600,000 each. This may be the last of the cruise missiles, for the same technology can be used to build UAVs (Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles) that can do what the Tactical Tomahawk can do, but then return to a carrier and land. There's also no reason why these navy UAVs can't be equipped with parachute and inflatable floats so it can return to a surface ship, that can then fish it out of the water for reuse. Submarines will still use one way UAVs (current cruise missiles), but will only use them when there is no alternative. 

 


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