Watch This F-18 Pick Up An Airborne Cruise Missile And Guide It Into A Moving Ship

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
Font Size:

Last month the U.S. Navy tested a new way to guide long-range cruise missiles to hit moving targets accurately — in this case, by handing control of an airborne Tomahawk to an F/A-18 Super Hornet, which guided the missile to strike a moving ship.

During the test conducted of the coast of San Nicolas Island, Calif. on Jan. 27, the destroyer USS Kidd launched the Tomahawk and handed control of the missile over to the Super Hornet pilot, who steered it into the target ship and punched a hole through a shipping container.


“It demonstrates the viability of long-range communications for position updates of moving targets,” Capt. Joe Mauser, Tomahawk Weapons System program manager for Naval Air Systems Command said in a Navy statement reported by USNI News.

“This success further demonstrates the existing capability of Tomahawk as a netted weapon, and in doing so, extends its reach beyond fixed and re-locatable points to moving targets.”

The method will allow the Navy to stretch the reach of the Tomahawk Block IV’s 1,000-nautical mile range, which can receive new information mid-flight to update its path and strike moving targets.

According to The Aviationist, additional aerial platforms including the F-22, F-35 and possibly drones will eventually support naval cruise missile targeting.

Follow Giuseppe on Twitter and Facebook