MARCH 26, 2015, INDIAN HEAD, Md. (NNS) – The Navy’s Tactical Tomahawk missile underwent a successful production acceptance test March 19 using functional ground test (FGT) capability at Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division’s (NSWC IHEODTD) Large Rocket Motor Test Facility in Indian Head, Maryland.
The Tomahawk land attack missile – managed by Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO(U&W)) – is an all-weather, long-range, sub-sonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare, and is launched from U.S. Navy surface ships and submarines.
“This latest FGT – which is the 84th we’ve conducted in the past 25 years – was in support of the RGM-109E Block IV, Vertical Launch System (VLS) full-rate production lot acceptance,” said NSWC IHEODTD’s Michael Spriggs, senior engineer and FGT test conductor. “For the test, we used a single, representative missile from the full-rate production line to demonstrate the capability of this lot to perform mission requirements. The data we collected from the test will be used to verify the manufacturing processes and quality of missiles produced.”
During the test, the missile is exercised at the system level as it would be in an operational flight through the detonation command, except that the missile is restrained in a specially designed test stand and is equipped with an inert warhead.
“After ‘launch,’ real-time, six-degree-of-freedom accredited mission simulation software provides inputs to the missile’s guidance system to mimic flight, targeting and detonation. The missile ‘flew’ for about an hour and 45 minutes before it successfully acquired the target,” said NSWC IHEODTD FGT software lead Mike Gardner.
Because the missile remains intact, special instrumentation can be applied and thorough post-flight inspections can be conducted.
“Preliminary assessment indicates this missile performed as expected and all test objectives were achieved,” said Spriggs.
According to Spriggs, the FGT program at NSWC IHEODTD began in 1990 as a basic test capability to support NAVAIR’s Tomahawk Weapons System Program Office (PMA-280), and has evolved along with the missile to support all variants. In addition to acceptance testing, FGTs are conducted to verify new missiles; assess service life of aged missiles; monitor stockpiled missiles; or observe newly engineered components.
“We anticipate conducting the next FGT later this fiscal year to sample a capsule launching system variant,” said NSWC IHEODTD’s Phillip Vaughn, FGT program manager.
NSWC IHEODTD is a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and is part of the Department of the Navy’s science and engineering enterprise. The division is the leader in energetics, energetic materials, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) knowledge, tools, equipment. Our division focuses on the research, development, test, evaluation, in-service support, and disposal of energetics and energetic systems as well as works to provide Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen worldwide with the information and technological solutions they need to detect/locate, access, identify, render safe, recover/exploit, and dispose of both conventional and unconventional explosive threats.