A BGM-109 Tomahawk
|Type||Long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||United States Navy
|Manufacturer||General Dynamics (initially)
|Unit cost||US$569,000 (1999) AGM-109H/L version to $1.45 million Tactical version (2011)|
|Weight||2,900 lb (1,300 kg), 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) with booster|
Without booster: 18 ft 3 in (5.56 m)With booster: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
|Diameter||20.4 in (0.52 m)|
|Warhead||Nuclear: W80 warhead (retired)
Conventional: 1,000 pounds (450 kg) High explosive or Submunitions dispenser with BLU-97/B Combined Effects Bomb or PBXN
|FMU-148 since TLAM Block III, others for special applications|
|Engine||Williams International F107-WR-402 turbofan
using TH-dimer fuel
and a solid-fuel rocket booster
|Wingspan||8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)|
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)
|Speed||Subsonic; about 550 mph (890 km/h)|
|GPS, INS, TERCOM, DSMAC|
|Vertical Launch System (VLS) and horizontal submarine torpedo tubes (known as TTL (torpedo tube launch))|
The Tomahawk (UK // or US //) is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile. The missile was named after the Native American axe. Introduced by McDonnell Douglas in the 1970s, it was initially designed as a medium to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a surface platform. It has been improved several times and, due to corporate divestitures and acquisitions, is now made by Raytheon. Some Tomahawks were also manufactured by General Dynamics (now Boeing Defense, Space & Security).
The Tomahawk missile family consists of a number of subsonic, jet engine-powered missiles designed to attack a variety of surface targets. Although a number of launch platforms have been deployed or envisaged, only sea (both surface ship and submarine) launched variants are currently in service. Tomahawk has a modular design, allowing a wide variety of warhead, guidance, and range capabilities.
There have been several variants of the BGM-109 Tomahawk employing various types of warheads.
- AGM-109H/L Medium Range Air to Surface Missile (MRASM) – a shorter range, turbojet powered ASM with bomblet munitions; never entered service.
- BGM-109A Tomahawk Land Attack Missile – Nuclear (TLAM-A) with a W80 nuclear warhead. Retired from service sometime between 2010 and 2013.
- BGM-109C Tomahawk Land Attack Missile – Conventional (TLAM-C) with a unitary warhead. This was initially a modified Bullpup warhead.
- BGM-109D Tomahawk Land Attack Missile – Dispenser (TLAM-D) with submunitions.
- BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) – with a W84 nuclear warhead; withdrawn from service in 1987.
- RGM/UGM-109B Tomahawk Anti Ship Missile (TASM) – radar guided anti-shipping variant; withdrawn from service in the 1990s.
- RGM/UGM-109E Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM Block IV) – improved version of the TLAM-C.
Ground Launch Cruise Missiles (GLCM) and their truck-like launch vehicles were employed at bases in Europe; it was withdrawn from service to comply with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Many of the anti-ship versions were converted into TLAMs at the end of the Cold War. The Block III TLAMs that entered service in 1993 can fly farther and use Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to strike more precisely. Block III TLAM-Cs retain the DSMAC II navigation system, allowing GPS only missions, which allow for rapid mission planning, with some reduced accuracy, DSMAC only missions, which take longer to plan but terminal accuracy is somewhat better, and GPS aided missions which combine both DSMAC II and GPS navigation which provides the greatest accuracy. Block IV TLAMs are completely redesigned with an improved turbofan engine. The F107-402 engine provided the new BLK III with a throttle control, allowing in-flight speed changes. This engine also provided better fuel economy. The Block IV TLAMs have enhanced deep-strike capabilities and are equipped with a real-time targeting system for striking fleeting targets. Additionally, the BLOCK IV missiles have the capabilities to be re-targeted inflight, and the ability to transmit, via satcom, and image immediately prior to impact to assist in determining if the missile was attacking the target and the likely damage from the attack.
A major improvement to the Tomahawk is network-centric warfare-capabilities, using data from multiple sensors (aircraft, UAVs, satellites, foot soldiers, tanks, ships) to find its target. It will also be able to send data from its sensors to these platforms. It will be a part of the networked force being implemented by the Pentagon.
The "Tactical Tomahawk" takes advantage of a loitering feature in the missile's flight path and allows commanders to redirect the missile to an alternative target, if required. It can be reprogrammed in-flight to attack predesignated targets with GPS coordinates stored in its memory or to any other GPS coordinates. Also, the missile can send data about its status back to the commander. It entered service with the US Navy in late 2004. The Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS) added the capability for limited mission planning onboard the firing unit (FRU).
In May 2009, Raytheon Missile Systems proposed an upgrade to the Tomahawk Block IV land-attack cruise missile with a 900 nautical miles (1,700 km) range.
In February 2014, the U.S. Navy began working on a bunker-busting warhead for the Tomahawk. Called the Joint Multi-Effects Warhead System (JMEWS), it would weigh 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) and be compatible with existing Block IV missiles.
In 2014, Raytheon was testing Block IV improvements to attack sea and moving land targets.
A supersonic version of the Tomahawk is under consideration for development with a ramjet to increase its speed to Mach 3. A limiting factor to this is the dimensions of shipboard launch tubes. Instead of modifying every ship able to carry cruise missiles, the ramjet-powered Tomahawk would still have to fit within a 21-inch diameter and 20-foot long tube.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2010)|
Each missile is stored and launched from a pressurized canister that protects it during transportation and storage and acts as a launch tube. These canisters were racked in Armored Box Launchers (ABL), which were installed on the re-activated Iowa class battleships USS Iowa, USS New Jersey, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin. The ABLs were also installed on eight Spruance class destroyers, the four Virginia class cruisers, and the USS Long Beach. These canisters are also in Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) in other surface ships, Capsule Launch Systems (CLS) in the later Los Angeles class submarines, and in submarines' torpedo tubes. All ABL equipped ships have been decommissioned.
For submarine-launched missiles (called UGM-109s), after being ejected by gas pressure (vertically via the VLS) or by water impulse (horizontally via the torpedo tube), the missile exits the water and a solid-fuel booster is ignited for the first few seconds of airborne flight until transition to cruise.
After achieving flight, the missile's wings are unfolded for lift, the airscoop is exposed and the turbofan engine is employed for cruise flight. Over water, the Tomahawk uses inertial guidance or GPS to follow a preset course; once over land, the missile's guidance system is aided by Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM). Terminal guidance is provided by the Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation (DSMAC) system or GPS, producing a claimed accuracy of about 10 meters.
The Tomahawk Weapon System consists of the missile, Theater Mission Planning Center (TMPC)/Afloat Planning System, and either the Tomahawk Weapon Control System (on surface ships) or Combat Control System (for submarines).
Several versions of control systems have been used, including:
- v2 TWCS – Tomahawk Weapon Control System (1983), also known as "green screens," was based on an old tank computing system.
- v3 ATWCS – Advanced Tomahawk Weapon Control System (1994), first Commercial Off the Shelf, uses HP-UX.
- v4 TTWCS – Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System, (2003).
- v5 TTWCS – Next Generation Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System. (2006)
The USS Missouri launching a Tomahawk missile.
Submarine launch from USS Florida.
Launch trajectory from an Arleigh Burke class destroyer.
The TLAM-D contains 166 sub-munitions in 24 canisters; 22 canisters of seven each, and two canisters of six each to conform to the dimensions of the airframe. The sub-munitions are the same type of Combined Effects Munition bomblet used in large quantities by the U.S. Air Force with the CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition. The sub-munitions canisters are dispensed two at a time, one per side. The missile can perform up to five separate target segments which enables it to attack multiple targets. However, in order to achieve a sufficient density of coverage typically all 24 canisters are dispensed sequentially from back to front.
TERCOM – Terrain Contour Matching. A digital representation of an area of terrain is mapped based on digital terrain elevation data or stereo imagery. This map is then inserted into a TLAM mission which is then loaded on to the missile. When the missile is in flight it compares the stored map data with radar altimeter data collected as the missile overflies the map. Based on comparison results the missile's inertial navigation system is updated and the missile corrects its course. TERCOM was based on, and was a significant improvement on, "Fingerprint," a technology developed in 1964 for the SLAM.
DSMAC – Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation. A digitized image of an area is mapped and then inserted into a TLAM mission. During the flight the missile will verify that the images that it has stored correlates with the image it sees below itself. Based on comparison results the missile's inertial navigation system is updated and the missile corrects its course.
- Total program cost: $US 11,210,000,000
- In the 1991 Gulf War, 288 Tomahawks were launched. The first salvo was fired by the cruiser USS San Jacinto on January 17, 1991. The attack submarines USS Pittsburgh and USS Louisville followed.
- On 26 June 1993, 23 Tomahawks were fired at the Iraqi Intelligence Service's command and control center.
- On 10 September 1995, the USS Normandy launched 13 Tomahawk missiles from the central Adriatic Sea against a key air defense radio relay tower in Bosnian Serb territory during Operation Deliberate Force.
- On 3 September 1996, 44 cruise missiles between UGM-109 and B-52 launched AGM-86s, were fired at air defence targets in Southern Iraq.
- On 20 August 1998, around 75 Tomahawk missiles were fired simultaneously to two separate target areas in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation to the bombings of American embassies by Al-Qaeda.
- On 16 December 1998, Tomahawk missiles were fired at key Iraqi targets in during Operation Desert Fox.
- In spring 1999, 218 Tomahawk missiles were fired by US ships and a British submarine during Operation Allied Force against key targets in Yugoslavia.
- In October 2001, approximately 50 Tomahawk missiles struck targets in Afghanistan in the opening hours of Operation Enduring Freedom.
- During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, more than 725 tomahawk missiles were fired at key Iraqi targets.
- On 17 December 2009, two Tomahawk missiles were fired at targets in Yemen. One of the targets was hit by a TLAM-D missile. The target was described as an 'alleged al-Qa’ida training camp' in al-Ma’jalah in al-Mahfad a region of the Abyan governorate of Yemen. Amnesty International reported that 55 people were killed in the attack, including 41 civilians (21 children, 14 women, and six men). The US and Yemen governments refused to confirm or deny involvement, but diplomatic cables released as part of Cablegate later confirmed the missile was fired by a US Navy ship.
- On 19 March 2011, 124 Tomahawk missiles were fired by U.S. and British forces (112 US, 12 British) against at least 20 Libyan targets around Tripoli and Misrata. As of 22 March 2011, 159 UGM-109 were fired by US and UK ships against Libyan targets.
- The United States Navy has a stockpile of around 3,500 Tomahawk cruise missiles of all variants, with a combined worth of approximately US $2.6 billion.
- Tomahawk production for the United States Navy is scheduled to end in Fiscal Year 2015, with a replacement entering service a decade later.
The US agreed to sell more than 60 Tomahawks to the UK in 1995 for use with Royal Navy nuclear submarines. The first missiles were acquired and test-fired in 1998.
In 2004, the UK and US governments reached an agreement for the British to buy 64 of the new generation of Tomahawk missile—the Block IV or TacTom missile. The SYLVER vertical launch system to be fitted to the new Type 45 destroyer is claimed by its manufacturers to have the capability to fire the Tomahawk, although the A50 launcher carried by Type 45 is too short for the weapon (the longer A70 silo would be required). Nevertheless, Type 45 has been designed with a weight and space margin to allow a Mk41 or Sylver A70 silo to be retrofitted, making TLAM Block IV a candidate to be fitted to the Type 45 if required. France, which also uses the SYLVER launcher, is developing a version of the Storm Shadow/Scalp cruise missile capable of launch from the SYLVER system, which has a shorter range but a higher speed.
The Kosovo War in 1999 saw HMS Splendid become the first British submarine to fire the Tomahawk in combat. It has been reported that seventeen of the twenty Tomahawks fired by the British during that conflict hit their targets accurately. The Royal Navy later used them during the 2001 Afghanistan War, in Operation Telic, the British contribution to the 2003 Iraq War, and during Operation Ellamy in Libya in 2011.
The Royal Navy has purchased the Block IV tomahawk which entered service on 27 March 2008, three months ahead of schedule.
United States Air Force
The USAF is a former operator of the nuclear-armed version of the Tomahawk, the BGM-109G Gryphon.
In 2009 the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States stated that Japan would be concerned if the TLAM-N were retired, but the government of Japan has denied that it had expressed any such view.
It is believed that the SLCM version of the Popeye was developed by Israel after the US Clinton administration refused an Israeli request in 2000 to purchase Tomahawk SLCM's because of international MTCR proliferation rules.
The U.S. Navy is seeking a next-generation cruise missile to replace the Tomahawk called the next-generation land attack weapon. The missile is to have increased lethality and survivability over the current Tomahawk missile. Options include improving the Tomahawk weapon or selecting a new weapon. The Navy plans to compete a surface-launched version of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, a version of the air-launched missile in development to defeat enemy air defenses using sensors and autonomous flight. A future version of the LRASM may include several vendors, but Lockheed Martin has been the principal developer and is investing funds to develop and test an LRASM that can be launched from vertical launch systems on Navy ships.
A decision is expected in 2016 to either continue Tomahawk production or go forwards with a different design for the next-generation land attack weapon.
- List of missiles
- UGM-89 Perseus
- ArcLight (missile)
- Scalp Naval (missile)
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