The Navy won’t buy specific replacements from Raytheon Co. for 162 Tomahawk cruise missiles that were fired at Libyan air defenses in the opening days of the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign to set up a no-fly zone.
“The Tomahawks that were shot are part of our current inventory; there are more than ample replacements for those, more than ample,” Admiral Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, told reporters in Washington. The Navy has more than 3,000 Tomahawks, he said.
The opening rounds of the coalition action, named Operation Odyssey Dawn, followed the script of major operations since 1991 with the launch of Raytheon Tomahawk missiles to destroy air defenses and clear a path for manned aircraft.
The first strikes on March 19 involved 124 missiles against more than 20 targets, and thirty-eight additional missiles were fired later. By contrast, 288 Tomahawks were fired in the 1991 Gulf War.
The Navy’s current five-year budget plan through 2016 projects buying 980 of the newest Tactical Tomahawks. Each missile costs about $1.4 million in today’s dollars, according to the Navy. Raytheon’s Tucson, Arizona-based missile unit makes the weapon. The Tactical Tomahawk is guided by global positioning system coordinates and is capable of loitering over a target and receiving new targeting information in flight.