The Tomahawk® Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is an all-weather, long range, subsonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare, launched from U. S. Navy surface ships and U.S. Navy and Royal Navy submarines.
Tomahawk carries a nuclear or conventional payload. The conventional, land-attack, unitary variant carries a 1,000-pound-class warhead (TLAM-C) while the submunitions dispenser variant carries 166 combined-effects bomblets (TLAM-D). The Block III version incorporates engine improvements, an insensitive extended range warhead, time-of-arrival control and navigation capability using an improved Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC) and Global Positioning System (GPS) — which can significantly reduce mission-planning time and increase navigation and terminal accuracy. Tomahawk Block IV (TLAM-E) is the latest improvement to the Tomahawk missile family. Block IV capability enhancements include: (a) increased flexibility utilizing two-way satellite communications to reprogram the missile in-flight to a new aimpoint or new preplanned mission, send a new mission to the missile en route to a new target, and missile health and status messages during the flight; (b) increased responsiveness with faster launch timelines, mission planning capability aboard the launch platform, loiter capability in the area of emerging targets, the ability to provide battle damage indication in the target area, and the capability to provide a single-frame image of the target or other areas of interest along the missile flight path; and (c) improved affordability with a production cost of a Block IV significantly lower than the cost of a new Block III and a 15-year Block IV recertification interval compared to the eight-year interval for Block III.
Tomahawk® cruise missiles are designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds, and are piloted over an evasive route by several mission tailored guidance systems. The first operational use was in Operation Desert Storm, 1991, with immense success. The missile has since been used successfully in several other conflicts. In 1995 the governments of the United States and United Kingdom signed a Foreign Military Sales Agreement for the acquisition of 65 missiles, marking the first sale of Tomahawk® to a foreign country.
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