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NAVAIR confirms contract with Raytheon for first MST seeker buy

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded Raytheon Missiles & Defense a first low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract for the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) sensor suite equipping the Tomahawk Block Va cruise missile.

Awarded on 29 October, the USD19.6 million contract covers the manufacture, integration, qualification, and test of 15 MST multimode seekers and associated subsystems for installation in recertified US Navy (USN) Tomahawk missiles.

MST is a Rapid Deployment Capability designed to enable modernised and recertified Tomahawk cruise missiles (both RGM-109E surface ship and UGM-109E submarine-launched variants) to prosecute surface ships. The modification introduces a multimode seeker and associated processing to provide terminal guidance against moving maritime targets.

Details of the seeker channels remain classified. However, it is believed that the MST solution pulls through prior Raytheon research and development work that has matured a multimode seeker suite marrying complementary passive radio frequency (RF) and active RF homing sensors (respectively optimised for search and terminal homing).

The MST embodiment includes modifying the existing missile infrastructure to accept/install seeker kit components and assemblies into a modernised Block V missile during a recertification availability. The complete seeker kit package includes the sensors, a nosecone, a new ULTRA processor, a cooling pump and plumbing, a bulkhead, power and signal harnesses, power supply, plumbing and electrical chase insulators, a telemetry unit, wiring, a hybrid homopolar permanent magnet generator, and a primary power interface unit.

LRIP-1 procurement is covered by fiscal year (FY) 2021 funds. LRIP-2, covering a further 39 MST kits, is funded in FY 2022.

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