Tomahawk (missile)

The Tomahawk (/ˈtɒməhɔːk/) Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is a long-range, all-weather, jet-powered, subsonic cruise missile that is primarily used by the United States Navy and Royal Navy in ship and submarine-based land-attack operations.

A BGM-109 Tomahawk flying in November 2002
TypeLong-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile
Anti-ship missile[1](Block V)
Submarine-launched cruise missile
Land-attack missile
Surface-to-surface missile[2]
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1983–present
Used byUnited States Navy
Royal Navy
Production history
ManufacturerGeneral Dynamics (initially)
McDonnell Douglas
Hughes Aircraft Corporation
Raytheon Missiles & Defense
Unit cost
  • $1.87M (FY2017)[3] (Block IV)
  • $2M (FY2022)[4] (Block V)
Mass2,900 lb (1,300 kg), 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) with booster
  • 18 ft 3 in (5.56 m) without booster;
  • 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m) with booster
Diameter20.4 in (0.52 m)
Wingspan8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
WarheadNuclear: W80 warhead (yield 5 to 150 kilotonnes of TNT (21 to 628 TJ)) (retired)[5]
Conventional: 1,000 pounds (450 kg) high explosive or submunition dispenser with BLU-97/B Combined Effects Bomb or PBXN
FMU-148 since TLAM Block III, others for special applications

EngineWilliams International F107-WR-402 turbofan
using TH-dimer fuel
and a solid-fuel rocket booster
Block II TLAM-A – 1,350 nmi (1,550 mi; 2,500 km)

Block III TLAM-C, Block IV TLAM-E – 900 nmi (1,000 mi; 1,700 km)
Block III TLAM-D – 700 nmi (810 mi; 1,300 km)[6]

Block IV - 864nmi, 1000+ miles, 1600+ km
Block Vb - 899nmi, 1035+ miles, 1666+ km (exact range is classified)[7]
RGM/UGM-109B (anti-ship variant) - 250 miles, 460 km[8]
Flight altitude98–164 ft (30–50 m) AGL[9]
Maximum speed Subsonic; ~Mach 0.74. about 567.7 mph (493.3 kn; 913.6 km/h)
GPS, INS, TERCOM, DSMAC, active radar homing (RGM/UGM-109B)
Vertical launch system (VLS)
Torpedo tubes
Surface ships

Under contract from the U.S. Navy, the Tomahawk was designed at the APL/JHU in a project led by James Walker near Laurel, Maryland, and was first manufactured by General Dynamics in the 1970s. It was intended to fill the role of a medium- to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a naval surface warfare platform, and featured a modular design accommodating a wide variety of warhead, guidance, and range capabilities. At least six variants and multiple upgraded versions of the TLAM have been added since the original design was introduced, including air-, sub-, and ground-launched variants with conventional and nuclear armaments. In 1992–1994, McDonnell Douglas Corporation was the sole supplier of Tomahawk Missiles and produced Block II and Block III Tomahawk missiles and remanufactured many Tomahawks to Block III specifications.[10] In 1994, Hughes outbid McDonnell Douglas Aerospace to become the sole supplier of Tomahawk missiles. By 2019, the only variants in service were non-nuclear, sea-launched variants manufactured by Raytheon.[11] In 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense purchased 149 Tomahawk Block IV missiles for $202.3 million.[3]

The Tomahawk was most recently used by the U.S. Navy in the 2018 missile strikes against Syria, when 66 missiles were launched targeting Syrian chemical weapons facilities.[12]

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