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US Navy USS Chafee Arleigh Burke class destroyer conducts test launch of Block V Tomahawk missile


According to a picture released by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy USS Chafee (DDG 90) Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer has launched the first Block V Tomahawk missile during an exercise in the Pacific Ocean on December 1, 2020.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) launches a Block V Tomahawk, the weapon's newest variant, during a three day missile exercise. (Picture source U.S. Navy)


The event marked the first time a Block V Tomahawk long-range subsonic cruise missile, the weapons newest variant, was operationally tested, marking the Navy’s transition to a more advanced capability for 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 (MST) 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 (JMEWS) (designated as Block Vb).

The USS Chafee (DDG-90) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in service with United States Navy. She was laid down by the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine on 12 April 2001, launched on 2 November 2002, and commissioned on 18 October 2003 in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers (DDGs) is a United States Navy class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multifunction passive electronically scanned array radar. The Aegis Weapon System is the world’s premier naval air defense system and the sea-based element of the United States’ Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The Aegis Weapon System is a seamlessly integrated radar and missile system capable of simultaneous operation defending against advanced air, surface and subsurface threats. A key component of the Aegis Weapon System is the SPY-1 multi-function phased array radar. It is the world’s most advanced and versatile maritime radar, and is scalable to meet the mission needs for a range of ships from corvettes to aircraft carriers.

The USS Chafee is part of Flight IIA ships in the Arleigh Burke-class family. Flight IIA of the Arleigh Burke class, authorized in the fiscal year 1994, was a redesign that incorporated alterations for littoral (coastal) warfare on a hull lengthened by six feet over Flight I and II ships. Her main recognition feature was an enclosure for side-by-side helicopter hangars aft; her flight deck was also enlarged. Systems enhancements included organic mine hunting and area theater ballistic missile defense.

The USS Chafee is powered by four General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, each rated at 33,600hp with a power turbine speed of 3,600rpm, driving two shafts with controllable pitch propellers. She can reach a top speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph). The ship has a crew of 35O sailors.

The USS Chafee is armed with one 5 inches (127 mm)/62 caliber Mk 45 Mod 4 naval gun, two 25 mm Mk 38 automatic cannons, four .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns, 20 mm Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System), two Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes for Mk 46 torpedoes and 96-cell Mk 41 VLS (Vertical Launching System) able to launch RIM-66 medium-range Standard Surface-to-Air Missile 2, RIM-162 ESSM (Evolved SeaSparrow Missile) anti-ship missile, BGM-109 Tomahawk long-range cruise missile and RUM-139 VL-ASROC anti-submarine missiles.