The U.S Navy has received its first Block V configured Tomahawk missile from Raytheon, paving the way to provide the fleet with an upgraded capability.

These first Block V missiles are from the existing Tomahawk Block IV inventory, and have been recertified and modernised for fleet use, according to NAVAIR here.

“This is the next big advancement in Tomahawk capability, and a major achievement for the program,” said Capt. Red, program manager for the Tomahawk Weapons System program (PMA-280).

“We’re focused now on delivering advanced capability to the fleet by recertifying and modernizing our Block IV inventory, and by contracting production Block V missiles.”

Raytheon say it is conducting the mid-life recertification process at its Camden, Arkansas facility.

“The process replaces life-limited components in Block IV missiles to enable their remaining 15 years of service life, and provides the opportunity for the missiles to receive Block V modernizations. All Block IV missiles will undergo recertification and modernization.”

Block V Tomahawk missiles feature a NAV/COMMs upgrade that maintains the capability for In-Flight Target Updates and Improved Navigation.

Future Block V capabilities will add to the NAV/COMMs upgrade and include the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) variant, designated as Block Va; and the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS), designated as Block Vb.

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James H

What’s the chance the Type 26 will get these and what will happen to the torpedo launched versions that the astutes use as i thought the production line had closed for them.

Geoffrey Roach

Very high chance of them going onto T31’s and TT versions will almost certainly receive the upgrade.

Stand Off Rocket Man

Getting the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) variant would suddenly give us an anti-ship missile with a 1000 miles reach. Beats the Harpoon with its very limited reach for sure. A game changer?

I read somewhere that to upgrade the IVs costs about $250,000 per missile. Can the ones we use for the subs be upgraded or are they a special sub variant?

Stand Off Rocket Man

Actually, reading further, their reach is 1500 miles, and they can be used from subs.The $250,000 figure I quoted is for the new seeker, but not sure whether the overall cost is more.


It would probably be cheaper to buy the MBDA anti-ship version of Storm Shadow cruise missile that the French navy carries on their FREMM frigates called Missile defense Croisiere Naval.


When Harpoon goes it well be good to see what the RN end up with.

Nigel Collins

Possibly this, if we intend to go with the current US manufactured ASM.

“The successful LRASM Boosted Test Vehicle (BTV) flight on 4 Sep ’13 at WSMR Desert Ship Range, demonstrated an LRASM launch from a MK 41 VLS canister using the proven Mk-114 booster.

Lockheed Martin is investing in the surface-launch LRASM effort to reduce program risk and accelerate time to fielding an OASuW capability on US Navy surface combatants.

LRASM can be employed from DDGs and CGs with only software modifications to existing launch control systems. LRASM is the low-risk and low-cost solution for our naval warfighter.”


Looks like there’s a few choices on the cards even one form Europe thanks for your posts interesting stuff let’s hope RN get what there want.?

Nigel Collins

We need something decent that’s for sure!


LRASM and Tomahawk Va would give the RN the capability it badly needs. The upgraded Tomahawks could also be carried by the Astutes.

Nigel Collins

I managed to find this, so it may very well be on the cards.

“After the Tomahawks used by the U.S. military are upgraded, it is possible the United Kingdom, the only other nation with Tomahawk cruise missiles would begin modernizing its arsenals, Red said.

U.S. law covering foreign military sales says systems and weapons must be fielded first in the United States.

“We’re still working through that” in Washington and London, Red said.”


Basically every 10 years we buy about 65
1995 65 mk3
2004 64 mk4
2014 65 mk4

So they may look to another similar purchase in 2024/5 or they may get an entirely different missile. I doubt upgrading would be considered worthwhile.


Thanks for the dates of the buys…. I think it highlights quite clearly that perhaps we need to invest in a much more modern system, particularly for anti ship use…..

Stand Off Rocket Man

For a very low cost we can convert an already in use missiles to offer a very long stand off range. Just because the missile is old(ish) doesn’t mean it’s not good (think B52s), and with the enhancements will offer a cheap, long-ranged missile that far exceeds anything the currently in use Harpoon. I think it would be folly not to upgrade at least half of your Tomahawks to the Va variant. The US now has four medium to long-range anti-ship missiles (Tomahawk Va, NSM, LRASM and SM6), yet we get stuck in the belief that we need one and… Read more »

Stand Off Rocket Man

What will really be interesting is to see what missile the MOD will select as their ‘interim’ missile. As I understand it it will only go on 5 T-23s, and as they don’t have MK41 VLS, and as they probably don’t want to push the boat out, they will probably go for NSM, which although good, is very short ranged (it would be better on the T-31s for the littoral environment). They really need something with more distance, eg LSRAM or RSB-15. But I can’t see the MOD forking out for the LSRAM, especially as the USN isn’t using a… Read more »


What I mean is it would probably be cheaper from a defence planners perspective to expend them and buy replacements than upgrade them at a cost of probably $500k+ a missile due to low numbers involved and distance from factory. The total acquisition cost for the UK has historically been about twice the unit cost as other costs and services (such as spare parts, support costs, manufacturer supplied training, software etc..) will likely be factored in. The Mk3 cost was about $1.5m a missile in the 90’s, that gradually fell to a low of around $800k for a Mk4 around… Read more »

Stand Off Rocket Man

Yeah, I get that, but are they actually reopening the production line or just upgrading existing missiles? I think it’s the latter, but not sure.


There is no provision in US law that requires that US manufactured weapons or systems must be fielded in the US first. FMS is actually a specific program defined under the AECA and is so structured to distinguish it from Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). There are specific provisions about the export of US arms but fielding them in the US first is not one of them. There is nothing to prevent a US manufacturer from selling a weapon to a foreign government that it has not sold to the US military as long as the sale meets the provisions of… Read more »


The Tomahawk is a good land attack missile. Its terrain following capabilities, low altitude and range means in most cases its not detected until the last minute. As an anitship missile I have my doubts as there no terrain to mask the approach especially high end assets that would be heavily defended. Perhaps against resupply ships, other lower end targets or littoral ares where terrain could be used to evade radar it could have an impact or if used in conjunction with EW aircraft.