The U.S. Navy recently completed its first operational flight tests of the Block V Tomahawk missile, the weapon’s latest variant, from the guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee off the coast of California.

The objective of the testing was to support initial fleet release of the Block V Tomahawk’s Navigation/Communications (NAV/COMMs) upgrade, as well as upgrades to the Theater Mission Planning Center system and the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS).

“This is the culmination of years of planning and effort,” said the Tomahawk Weapons System Program Manager Capt. John Red.

“We’re working every day to modernize the Tomahawk missile, and to deliver the best warfighting capability to the fleet.”

During the week of Nov. 30, the USS Chafee successfully launched two Block V missiles and one Block IV missile from Point Mugu Sea Test Range and impacted targets as planned. The successful completion of the operational tests paves the way for the delivery of Block V missiles to the fleet in 2021.

Block V missiles will feature a NAV/COMMs upgrade that will enhance navigation performance and provide robust and reliable communications. Future Block V capabilities will add to the NAV/COMMs upgrade and include the Maritime Strike Tomahawk variant, which adds a seeker kit (designated as Block Va), and an update to the conventional warhead known as the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (designated as Block Vb).

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Anyone explain what makes these so expensive I mean they’ve produced thousands of these you’d of thought economies of scale would of kicked in, or that really is just a myth

Robert Blay

They are a very complex weapon system, and the cost reflects that.

Captain P Wash

Purchasing them from China is one option.


Biden will probably be doing that seeing his family’s close ties with the Chicoms.


yaaaawn , Trumpski supporters like you lack reality lol , so easily manipulated by false facts lol


Trump probably already gave the designs to his boss in the Kremlin.


Lol, Trump has paid more tax in China than he has in the US during his presidency.


Yes, but more than $0.00 isn’t that much. We shall see how the this appalling man will fare once he has lost the privileges of POTUS….bring it on!


They keep ordering them in blocks of 150-300 or so about 5-10 years apart so your not getting huge economies of scale but probably a significant factor is every time they order them they add a capability which might costs a couple of hundred million in development costs and profits for the manufacturer which is then reflected in the unit price for that block.

Last edited 1 month ago by Watcherzero

Last week The War Zone posted a story on naval ship-launched missiles costs, as pointed out in the article “… these are the prices for just the individual weapons and the figures do not factor in any future spending on support services, modifications, upgrades, or past spending on the weapons’ development.”

Lepke Buchalter

The cost also includes research, development, test missiles and target costs.

Daniele Mandelli

Will Block V be adapted for SSN use?

I’m thinking of our own TLAM capability here.


If we were to get them (which i think we should), we could pay for them to be adapted ourselves, much like we did for our Block IV missiles I believe. It would give us a much needed improvement in capability, lesson the need for a dedicated SSN launched AShM.

Glass Half Full

We are probably better off staying focused on making FC/ASW a successful program, rather than investing on more TLAM updates. FC/ASW will deliver weapons capable of submarine, ship and aircraft launch for commonality across the services. As a modern platform, it will either be a sub-sonic stealth missile vs TLAM’s lack of stealth, or it will be a high supersonic or possibly hypersonic solution. Its conceivable that the program might even develop both, given the different missile attributes, with commonality on warhead, sensors and targeting software. Its understandable that the US keeps spending on upgrades as they probably have 1,000’s… Read more »


Wonder what the probabilistic modelling would suggest. Single block V against contemporary AAW vessel….what.. Less than 5% chance of success.

What volume would have to be launched concurrently to get the probability over 100% for a single hit out if the attack… 5? 10?

Glass Half Full

I suspect that would be a complicated calculation. For example a sea skimming attack against a modern warship with high mounted AESA X or S-band radar (fixed or rotating) and active seeker missiles will make it much harder to saturate, e.g. UK’s Viper system in T45. Conversely, against a ship with a PESA, or even AESA, radar system but with non-active seeker missiles (requiring fire control radars staying locked onto each Tomahawk until destroyed) would be easier to saturate. But with a slow sub-sonic non-stealthy missile like Tomahawk, picked up early close to the radar horizon it still seems like… Read more »


Finally the US is upgrading the SM-2 to Block IIIC configuration with active radar homing.

Glass Half Full

And ESSM Blk 2 active seeker upgrade too. Those missile upgrades along with SPY-6 and SPQ-9B on AB II and III should make them much more capable.


Good points, I believe that FC/ASW is possibly the way ahead, but , it’s still on the drawing board, probably won’t be available until 2030ish, if it does survive Brexit!! The likes of TLAM, LRASM and NSM are already here, so it’s a bit of looking into a dark hole and rolling the dice as to what we need/might need. Interesting to see what transpires.

Glass Half Full

I’d be more concerned about FC/ASW surviving the apparently contradictory requirements from France and the UK than Brexit, i.e. between high speed and sub-sonic stealth. There does seem to be value in both but that would be bound to drive up costs, probably significantly. Certainly bird in the hand on current options. Part of the calculus has to be estimations of realistic threat scenarios over the next 10-20 years and longevity of current missile solutions. Tomahawk seems to be an interim solution. LRASM, aka AGM-158C, is also supposed to be a short term urgent requirement fix, with the long term… Read more »


I’d largely concur- I’d be happy to wait for F/CASW. NSM/JSM is only attractive to me if they get integrated with P-8A and F-35 (I don’t necessarily feel it needs to be internal carriage), with enough commonality between surface and air-launched versions to make some cost savings. Another plus is, I believe, that the newer Block II Harpoon has a land attack capability, so it will give our escorts some level of bite without having to rely on our SSNs. I also like the RBS15 for the same reason, but it doesn’t seem to have the same level of integrations… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Hi Joe. I haven’t seen mention of JSM for P-8 but IIRC Australia and Norway were paying for integration onto F-35 and Japan is another committed customer for JSM on F-35. I’d agree an internal F-35B variant would be icing on the cake as it were. Its perfectly viable for a clean above the radar horizon F-35 to do the targeting for a wing loaded JSM F-35, with the latter below the radar horizon. I must admit I hadn’t picked up on Boeing positioning Harpoon for land attack. The current Block II is rather short range though for land attack… Read more »