16 May 2024

Why Almost Nothing Can Stop the Tomahawk Missile

Stavros Atlamazoglou

The U.S. military can strike anywhere in the world with precision at short notice. The Tomahawk long-range cruise missile is one of the top weapons systems that enable that capability.

The Tomahawk

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is a long-range cruise missile that can operate in all weather conditions. The U.S. Navy and the British Royal Navy are the two leading operators of the munition, which arms their surface warships and submarines.

A jet-powered, subsonic munition, the Tomahawk is designed to fly at extremely low altitudes and use tailored guidance systems to evade air defenses.

There are several variants of the Tomahawk munition.

The Tomahawk Block III Conventional iteration packs a 1,000-lb blast/fragmentary unitary warhead. The Block III Submunition version features a submunition compartment that includes cluster bomblets for strikes against personnel or weapons systems out in the open. The Block IV version adds significantly better capabilities. The operator can reprogram the munition mid-flight through a satellite communications system and strike either a predesignated target or a completely different set of coordinates. In addition, the Block IV can loiter over a target and strike targets of opportunity, as well as provide battle damage assessments to commanders.

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