Talk:Tomahawk (missile)

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Launch Weight[edit]

what is the total launch weight? does the missile mass figure include the warhead as it seems to make a big difference

Unit Price[edit]

this dollar amount is ten years old (FY99)... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:20, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Why does the edit page for the article show the cost was $569k but the actual page shows $869k? Navy link says the $569k number is correct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Where did the 3.7 million price came from? 569,000 dollars in 99 is equivalent to 756,000 dollars in 2011 (as per —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:33, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I have reverted the unit price back to the 1999 amount simply because it is the only price that is correctly sourced and that specifically states the unit price per mission. Other references fail WP:SYNTH. The last reference took a total contract adjustment (not the total contract) and the number of missles ordered and simply used division to guess the unit price, ignoring development costs.
You cannot use a web inflation calcalator to predict the price, that is not a reference. The359 (Talk) 13:37, 10 April 2011 (UTC)


Can someone get an answerfor me? What is the future of BGM-109 Tomahawk? Is there any improvements that can be made on it?

Combat History[edit]

I am not sure what the author means by "The first salvo was fired by two attack submarines on April 2, 1991, USS Pittsburgh and Louisville." The first missiles fired in Desert Storm were in Jan 1991, and hostilities were essentially over by the end of Feb that year. I was on USS Virginia off the coast of Isreal at the time. Tom Hubbard 20:56, 7 June 2006 (UTC)


The people at Convair/General Dynamics would be very suprised to discover that the Tomahawk was designed by Robert Peterson. It was actually designed by Convair/GD and LTV in the 1970s. During the 1980s, it was manufactured by both GD and Robert Peterson. McDonnell Douglas. Production was cut back when the Ground Launch Cruise Missile was taken out of production. Hughes eventually became the prime contractor. While some parts of GD did end up with Hughes in the 1990s post cold war Defense Industrial complex shuffle, the Convair division went to McDonnell Douglas -- I'm 98% sure.

I've made some minor changes and amplifications, but other than the issue of who designed the thing, nothing that should be controversial -- DJK

That's nice. Because the non-missiles group of Convair wound up with Lockheed. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 03:52, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I can't vouch for who designed it, but I was on the USS Guitarro when we were shooting Tomahawks at San Clemente Island in the late 70's, and there were definitely Convair and GD "riders" on board.Go229 02:40, 11 January 2007 (UTC)


What is HPUX? Rmhermen 22:20 20 May 2003 (UTC)

Well, it presently redirects to HP/UX, which is the unix variant made by Hewlett Packard. Frankly I think that's a questionable link, as a general unix OS doesn't seem like a likely choice for an embedded, real-time, high-risk project like a TLAM. Even if the phrase "Commercial Off the Shelf" really means the a commercial OS, you'd think it would be QNX neutino or WRS' VxWorks OS. I googled and I can only find copies of this article. If someone has a reference relating HPUX to TLAM I'd be happy to look it over. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 01:11, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I've seen missiles which are run on an off-the-shelf SGI O2 workstations.

He may have a point. Some terminals on US ballistic missle subs run HP/UX, so it would seem that the DoD does indeed consider it suitable for mission-critical systems. (talk) 21:44, 10 July 2009 (UTC)


I think Spain has acquired a number of tomahawk recently so I think the Spanish Navy should be mentioned as operator (as July 21st 2005, see for the news)

At the present (Dec 2006) Spain (as the Netherlands) is in the process of adquisition, but don´t have them onboard any warship (or at least don't have notice). More links: Defensa article, Terra article. Please anyone update the article if the criteria is that authorized countries are listed, or whenever the Tomahawks are delivered and loaded.

Acquiring the missiles is one thing. For the surface ships, the launching system will be the VLS Mk 41 system. For Foreign sales, these systems are restricted down to capable of launching supporting only the missile type the navy has at that time. Therefore the Mk41 system will need some modification to support the missile in addition to the Tomahawk Weapon Control System being added to the ships. To my knowledge that is not yet done. Suspect eventually the newer German ships will acquire and add this capability.

Gas Mileage[edit]

This is being nitpicky, but somehow I don't think "gas mileage" is the term I'd use to describe the fuel consumption of a jet engine in a cruise missile. While it technically would work, perhaps pounds/hour or some such weight/time is more appropriate than a distance term. -- MUSpud2 08:29, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

One site measured fuel consumption in kilograms per kilonewton-hour. Unweildy, but it works.

SLCM/GLCM and History[edit]

I'm considering proposing a merger of this and the GLCM article, which describes the ground-launched -G model of this missile which was withdrawn due to treaty in the mid 1980's. I also think the current article focuses too much on the current versions - there's nearly nothing on the development history, or the (rather extensive) operational history...--SebastianP 00:44, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Further note: I found a large (8 mb+) PDF detailing the development of the Tomahawk here. --SebastianP 01:09, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually a lot of the computing equipment required to launch the GLCMs were interchangable with the shipboard equipment. We always knew a repair part was from a GLCM suite because the color was green instead of the navy gray. Although i have never seen a GLCM suite in person, it was basically the same "Green Screen" suite that was on ships, on wheels and with a different launcher. Merrill83 (talk) 17:18, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

The missle knows where it is at all times[edit]

It knows this because it know where it isn't. By subtracting where it is from where it isn't or from where it isn't from where it is, whichever is greater, it obtains a difference or deviation. The guidance subsystem uses deviations to generate corrective commands to drive the missle from a position where it is to a position where it isnt and arriving at a position where it wasn't it now is. Consequently, the position where it is, is now the position that it wasn't and it follows that the position that it was is now the position that it isnt. In the event that the position that it is in, is not the position that it wasn't, the system has acquired a variation. The variation being the difference between where the missle is and where it isn't. If variation is considered to be significant factor, it too may be corrected by the GEA. However, the missle must also know where it was. The missle guidance computer scenario works as follows, because a variation has modified some of the information the missle has obtained, it is not sure just where it is, however it is sure where it isnt within reason and it knows where it was. It now subtracts where it should be from where it wasn't or vice versa. And by differentiating this from the algebraic sum of where it shouldn't and where it was, it is able to obtain the deviation and its varation which is called error.

heh. Do you have a reference :D Macktheknifeau 00:47, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I thought it was funny (talk) 11:32, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

The above has got to have the highest milk-out-nose factor of anything I've read about how my government intends to kill all those VERY BAD people out there in a long time, and that is saying a lot, since our news is full of such info these days and the volume of milk spewed seems to be the main (only??) criterion used by them in selecting processes, systems, policies, etc. (only sometimes they forget to make it funny and just make it scary) Fitzhugh 02:06, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

This is what I thought when I was browsing contradiction pages.  :) -03:44, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

The TERCOM system used on the Tomahawk represented a revival of and improvement upon the "Fingerprint" technology developed for the SLAM missile in 1964. In addition to a reference about Fingerprint and TERCOM in, there is a very specific explanation of the origin on a National Geographic television documentary here: I did not use that as a direct citation in the article because the National Geographic program is probably loaded without permission. The reference is made about 26-28 minutes into the documentary. If anyone can come up with additional references that can be included, that would be great.Raryel (talk) 01:59, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

I went searching for a source for this quote. Earliest similar version I can find is from a letter in the December, 1997 issue of the Association of Air Force Missileers magazine(?). The letter is titled "GLCM GUIDANCE SYSTEM", sent by George Grill. Presumably tongue-in-cheek, and certainly not its origin. (talk) 07:50, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Reported project cost[edit]

"Total program cost: $11,210,000,000"

This can't be right - 11 trillion? I reckon some has added a couple extra naughts onto the end. Also, it is in bold, which suggests someone is trying to make an invalid statement loudly. Can anyone confirm the project cost and de-bold the text? 23:28, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

That's 11 billion, not trillion, which seems reasonable...-- 19:24, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

It talks about the project cost halving to $600k. Am I missing something or is one of the figures wrong? Fysidiko 22:18, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

The 600k is wrong obviously. Thats probably less than the cost of a single unit. 11 billion seems reasonable. (talk) 21:48, 10 July 2009 (UTC)


I have seen these estimates posted in non authoritative sites.

"Costs $500,000 - current production Unit Cost $1,400,000 - average unit cost (TY$) $11,210,00­0,000 - total program cost (TY$) US Navy has over 4000 launchers."

Can anyone confirm this?  — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iiiears (talkcontribs) 00:59, 21 March 2011 (UTC) VmZH88AZQnCjhT40 (talk) 01:24, 23 July 2013 (UTC)


The article W80 lists the yield as being between 50-150 kilotons, not to 200 kilotons, as listed in the "General characteristics" box. - MSTCrow 06:16, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

disputing the unit cost[edit]

According to this article, each Tomahawk costs $US1.2 million. [1], however, suggests the cost is US$569,000. The *.mil source seems more verifiable then an unattributed source. If there aren't any objections, I'll change the price in a few days. TerraFrost 21:31, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Other versions?[edit]

I think I've heard of other Tomahawk variants, including the TASM, Tomahawk anti-shipping missile. Anyone know anything about 'em? Sandy of the CSARs 19:25, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

The Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM) was introduced at the same time as the Nuclear and Conventional birds were. The TASM had a range of approximately 250NM and like its brethren flew at low altitudes and at subsonic speeds. The use of TASM was discontinued mid to late eighties.
The accuracy of the TASM was dependant on the accuracy of the Database of ship tracks maintained on the Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TWCS) (also know as Green Screen). Even today, an accurate database of ship tracks is required so when it is time to launch a missile, the flight path can be altered to avoid shipping traffic while the missile is flying over water.
Back in the mid eighties each ship was required to maintain their own database. The tracks came into the system via external comms and organic sources. The amount of information that came in with each track varied. It was up to the Database Manager (DBM) (a 4 hour rotating watch manned 24/7 while underway) to resolve ambiguities and maintain an accurate database. Commonly a track report would have Ship name, hull number, course, speed, latitude/longitude, area of uncertainty (AOU) and a time of report. A lot of the tracks came in with only a Latitude/Longitude, AOU and a time of report. No ship name, no hull number so it was up to the DBM operator to update an existing track with this new info or create a new track. If the DBM could not decide, it would just remain an ambiguity track until it was deleted for either time late or more data came in that correlated with it and the data merged.
Maintaining an accurate database was an art form with all the different data coming in. The track computers in TWCS calculated an AOU for each track based on its track history. This was displayed as a circle or ellipse around the track marker indicating the track could be anywhere within that area marked and the AOU grew as the data got older. A track that was coming from a surface search radar with frequent updates, would have a nice tight AOU.
If a strike was ordered or when within range of enemy vessels, the Engagement Planner (EP) would create a plan for each target. The EP would have to plan the flight path avoiding friendly and neutral tracks and fly it to the targets AOU. Depending on the size and shape of the AOU the EP would select one of a few search patterns available to ensure a high probability of acquisition (PAQ) displayed as a percentage. Sometime if a PAQ was too low the track history would be reviewed and history points deleted if they were deemed either an abnormally large AOU for that single report which effects the current AOU or the update was actually another ship. Caution was required when editing a tracks history trying to get a nice small AOU and high PAQ. Massaging the data could result in a miss. Right before launch the plan is reprocessed to ensure any updates to the enemy track are incorporated into the firing plan.
Today’s technology has removed the database management burden off each ship and is now centralized and electronically distributed. Merrill83 (talk) 20:09, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

"Operation Iraqi Freedom"[edit]

I have changed a reference to "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "the invasion of Iraq." I don't feel it's appropriate for Wikipedia to refer to wars by their American military code names. I know this is a common practice of American media, but it is done for a reason: to whitewash American military operations. Let's refer to wars as they are, not as the US government would like them to be seen.

Shankargopal (talk) 03:41, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Uh, but you removed the link, was redirect to Iraq War anyway. However, this is a section specifically on the US Navy, and as such giving the title of the US operation name is approriate, as "Iraq War" covers more than just the opening phase of the war. You also show a surprising ignorance of the US media, who are generally against the war as a whole, and the Bush Administration's activities in it in particular, so your claim of the media using the term to "whitewash American military operations" falls very flat.
Btw, for someone so apparently interested in "internationalizing" (my term for your apparent motives here) Wiki articles, you might take a look at the Forest Rights Act article. one has to read through three paragraphs before a country is even mentioned (2 - English, and India), but none of the 4 paragraphs in the Lead make clear what country this article is even about. Maybe you could speak to the cretor of this article about how to make articles on his nation more suitable for international reading too. Or does bias only exist in America?? (And yes, I do know who created that article.) - BillCJ (talk) 04:13, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Wow, I didn't realise that a relatively off-hand comment would produce such a strong reaction, to the extent that you actually sought out the one page I've ever written on wikipedia and went for it hammer and tongs. By the way, the very first sentence of that article says "The Scheduled Tribes... Act is a key piece of forest legislation passed in INDIA." Not quite third paragraph. In any case I took the point to heart and have moved the title of the page. But you might want to look more closely next time.
You were right about me removing the link - should not have done so. But as for your point re the American media, I was referring to a general practice, not one around the Iraq war alone. There are still media outlets that refer to the 1991 conflict as "Operation Desert Storm" (though I respect that you don't), the invasion of Panama as "Operation Just Cause", etc. The names of these operations are clearly meant to justify the military action in question, hence my reference to whitewashing. If your intention was to refer to the first part of the war, then the ideal way to do it would be to just say so - the first phase of the invasion of Iraq, or if you prefer of the 2003 Gulf conflict. Calling it Operation Iraqi Freedom does not enhance clarity in any way. Shankargopal (talk) 15:43, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Yet you don't seem concerned by the article titled "Operation Barbarossa". This suggests to me that you simply have a political ax to grind about the campaign in Iraq. How about either being consistent, or dropping the crusade? (talk) 22:41, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

To be honest, I could take it or leave it - but there is far less controvercy regarding more "historic" operations such as Barbarossa. Oh sure the operation might have its controversies, but generally speaking the public knows what went on and what the real motives of the two sides were. Whereas, in modern times, it is unfortunately the case that there are a lot of split opinions regarding the USs prosecution of wars overseas, and a lot of suspicion regarding speech percieved as overly glamorous, glorifying or a "gung-ho" attitude, not to mention the fact that in most of these engagements, though they are usually the major player, the conflicts involve the presence of significant numbers of armed forces from other countries who run their own operations and have their own codenames - and on top of THAT you have the fact that any one country might be running many operations associated with any particular conflict. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Relationship to "Ground Launched Cruise Missile" ?[edit]

Okay I read this article and got very confused. I am not an expert on this area but it seems like the Ground Launched Cruise Missile is a version of the Tomahawk and the relationships between these two cruise missiles need to be highlighted more in these articles. I can do this but I don't claim any great expertise here - does anyone know if there's a reason why they aren't cross-referenced? Dave w74 (talk) 07:34, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Operational history[edit]

It would be nice to see the operational history expanded to include the number of missiles fired from various platforms in various conflicts, including their success rate. The BGM-109 Tomahawk#United States Navy sections only mentions the Iraq wars. Were any fired from US platforms during the Kosovo conflict or the Afghanistan war? (Launched from RN platforms during those conflicts are mentioned in BGM-109 Tomahawk#Royal Navy.) Operation Infinite Reach is not mentioned at all. (talk) 12:19, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Eeeh, success rates are not that good. I seem to recall 28 missiles self destructing in a single raid, and multiple others veering off course by as much as a country (causing some embarrassment). Simple GPS jammers seem to lower effectiveness by a significant amount, with upwards of 10% failing to reach the target at all. Without going into the technical details, let us say only that Russian scientists conducted an experiment with Ashtech GPS receivers of the OEM "Sensor" type (which can easily be purchased in Moscow). The experiment showed that inference in the form of a carrier wave of any frequency between 1576 and 1578 MHz with a radiated power of -55 dB blocked reception of satellite signals by a receiver located nearby. If we do the math, a few watts of power, about what a flashlight uses, is enough to jam GPS signals within line of sight at a distance of up to 500 km. Thus so-called GPS mini-jammers can have a power of a few watts. The jamming area is line of sight, and for a Tomahawk cruise missile traveling at a height of 25 meters is 20 kilometers. And these means enormous losses for the West. It has been calculated that because of Kashinov's mini-jammers, which virtually put the NAVSTAR system out of commission, the Americans lost 80 billion dollars and 20 years of work by their scientists. (talk) 11:37, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Contemporary press reports of the 2003 attack on Baghdad indicated some Tomahawk missiles entered chosen windows of high-rise multi-use buildings to selectively destroy military offices. This suggests best-case accuracy <1 m, not 10 m. Were the reports dis-informative? Is this for only one version of the missile? Does the 10 m accuracy mentioned in the Launch Systems section reflect a range of versions? Does 10 m accuracy remain under GPS, radar and visual jamming?Nhy67ygv (talk) 02:52, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

To answer your question about the 10m accuracy, The missile is able to achieve this using only terrain matching and inertial guidance. That is, without GPS. I'm not sure whether radar or visual means are necessary for the terrain matching. The missile was developed before GPS was in place and had the 10m accuracy from the git go. One other thing that should be emphasized in the article, the missile was designed to fly very low (treetop level) to avoid detection by ground based radar. -- (talk) 04:23, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved Peter Karlsen (talk) 07:57, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

BGM-109 TomahawkTomahawk (missile) — There were other versions of the missile than just the BGM-109 (note, RGM-109, AGM-109). The title as it is is unnecessarily precise, I think, and could cause confusion. It would be better, perhaps, to have the title just named for the missile family name. The Bushranger Return fireFlank speed 22:06, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Canadian Content in the Tomahawk[edit]

I was at one time the Quality and Technical Services Officer (QTSO)T6, 301st Canadian Armed Forces Technical Services Agency. When I was a lowly T3 quality inspector, I provided quality assurances to the USAF and USN on the guidance system for the missile. I would provide my stamp on top of the testing/document pack for each missile guidence system This would signify that the manufacturer followed their quality control programme to the letter as verified in our quality inspections. Raytheon Toronto manufacutered the guidence system. There is no mention of this in the article. Also, there is no mention of field tests conducted in the Canadian midwest, Alberta, in tandum with the Canadian Armed Forces. Would anyone like to add to this? Torontofred (talk) 20:33, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Do you have a reliable source? VmZH88AZQnCjhT40 (talk) 01:27, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Operators Picture[edit]

The picture showing operators contradicts the text - it shows the Netherlands in green (operator) whereas the text suggests the the Netherlands never actually acquired the weapon system. Jellyfish dave (talk) 13:18, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


The Tomahawks I have seen have some kind of air scoop on them, where the Harpoons do not. Is there anyone who is more of an expert than me? Jokem (talk) 01:33, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

The harpoons have a similar intake in a similar place, though it is more recessed into that missile so stands out less. Its not clear if you are familiar, but if you aren't, the intakes are to provide air to the miniature jet engine that propels the missile. (talk) 14:01, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

The ALCM has a prominent fixed pitot inlet above. The Tomahawk has something similar beneath, but it's a pop-out folded in for storage and tube launch. Harpoon has a surface inlet like a NACA duct], between the wings. You can almost see it here File:US_Navy_020705-N-5055W-006_RIMPAC_2002.jpg in this wings-off photo or here. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:58, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

More specific information on GPS, INS, TERCOM, DSMAC, is it available?[edit]

Are the guidance systems GPS, INS, TERCOM, and DSMAC already specific enough, or can information be added about the specific name of the systems used in this weapon? More importantly, if we were to cut to the chase, is there any information about the average margin of error? It would be nice to at least have a general idea, such as negligible, 1/4 mile, multiple miles, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:38, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Accuracy for missiles is given as circular error probable or CEP. This is the area in which 50% of missiles aimed at a target will land. Mathematically, 95% of missiles will land within twice the CEP. The guidance systems do have specific names under the Joint Electronics Type Designation System. From :
RGM-109A (Nuclear TLAM): Inertial guidance plus AN/DPW-23 TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) radar, 80 m (260 ft) CEP
RGM-109B (TASM): AN/DSQ-28 J-band active radar seeker
RGM-109C (conventional TLAM): AN/DXQ-1 DSMAC (Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation), 10 m (30 ft) CEP
That site has more detailed discussion than this article. It has information, but not system names or CEPs, for the GPS and live imaging versions. For now, I don't want to add CEP information to the article myself, because the information available is outdated. Roches (talk) 23:20, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

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Technical data[edit]

cruising altitude[edit]

What is the cruising altitude of the weapon? German article mentions "less then 200m". Is there more precise data and some reference to it? User:ScotXWt@lk 12:34, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

data bank "terrain elevation"[edit]

To fly at such high velocity so low, there needs to be some database with the terrain elevation (Digital elevation model). Is there information about this data? The DB used by OpenStreetMap does contain elevation data! This data is used by e.g. Of course, this DB would pre-date osm, google maps, and co. User:ScotXWt@lk 12:34, 21 November 2015 (UTC)