Upgrades to the electronicsupportmeasure ESM system of the Tomahawk Block IV missile will enable the Navy39s Surface Action Group to fire them from sanctuary and defeat mobile threats at a long range

Tomahawk Missile’s ESM Seeker Uses EM Signature To Track Targets

Oct. 23, 2013
Upgrades to an ESM system for the Tomahawk Block IV missile include a wideband conformal antenna array and a two-way satellite datalink.

Since the 1980s, the US Navy has been using Tomahawk missiles for long-range precision-strike missions. Thanks to recent upgrades to the electronic-support-measure (ESM) system, it will soon be able to track moving targets as well. With a range of approximately 1000 statute miles, the Tomahawk Block IV missile is a surface- and submarine-launched precision-strike stand-off weapon. Over 2000 have been employed in combat.

Download this article in .PDF format
This file type includes high resolution graphics and schematics when applicable.

Recently, Raytheon completed field tests of an advanced ESM seeker to be installed as part of the improvement program. That seeker incorporates a next-generation processor and antenna, which are capable of locating and tracking both fixed and moving targets by following their electromagnetic (EM) signature. It also can track multiple targets at once, although the specific number is classified.  A wideband conformal array consisting of 16 antennas is utilized— each providing broad frequency coverage and angular direction finding for the active-radar-homing (ARH) solution. The antenna also boasts conformal receive elements and high-precision angular DF accuracy.

In addition, the upgrade includes a two-way satellite data-link, enabling a strike controller to redirect the missile in-flight to preprogrammed alternate targets or more critical targets. The seeker uses an ultra-high-frequency (UHF) satellite-communications (satcom) system, which is carried by the DoD UHF Follow On System. That sitcom system provides two-way data communications including in-flight health and status and mission or target re-assignments. The satcom system is set to be enhanced over the Tomahawk’s re-certification and re-manufacture program from 2017 to 2019.

In the field tests, the seeker was validated in a realistic, high-density environment after seven months of testing in anechoic chambers. Using a high-power processor, the passive sensor successfully identified a target with accurate direction finding and location. A captive flight test of the technology is scheduled for December/January 2013. An added active RF channel is planned for 2014. The multimode technology is expected to enable the Navy’s Surface Action Group to fire Tomahawks from sanctuary and defeat mobile threats at a long range.

Download this article in .PDF format
This file type includes high resolution graphics and schematics when applicable.
About the Author

Iliza Sokol | Associate Digital Editor

Iliza joined the Penton Media group in 2013 after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BS in Advertising and Marketing Communications. Prior to joining the staff, she worked at NYLON Magazine and a ghostwriting firm based in New York.

Sponsored Recommendations

Wideband MMIC LNA with Bypass

June 6, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ TSY-83LN+ wideband, MMIC LNA incorporates a bypass mode feature to extend system dynamic range. This model operates from 0.4 to 8 GHz and achieves an industry leading...

Expanded Thin-Film Filter Selection

June 6, 2024
Mini-Circuits has expanded our line of thin-film filter topologies to address a wider variety of applications and requirements. Low pass and band pass architectures are available...

Mini-Circuits CEO Jin Bains Presents: The RF Engine of the 21st Century

June 6, 2024
In case you missed Jin Bains' inspiring keynote talk at the inaugural IEEE MTT-S World Microwave Congress last week, be sure to check out the session recording, now available ...

Selecting VCOs for Clock Timing Circuits A System Perspective

May 9, 2024
Clock Timing, Phase Noise and Bit Error Rate (BER) Timing is critical in digital systems, especially in electronic systems that feature high-speed data converters and high-resolution...