What is a Tomahawk Missile?

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What is a Tomahawk Missile? Blog Image


Japan recently signed a deal with its ally, the United States, to buy 400 long-range Tomahawk missiles.

About Tomahawk Missile

  • It is a US-made long-range cruise missile used for deep-land attack warfare.
  • It can be launched from a ship or submarine and deliver its warhead precisely to a target at a long range.
  • It flies at low altitudes to strike fixed targets, such as communication and air-defense sites, in high-risk environments where manned aircraft may be vulnerable to surface-to-air missiles.
  • Features:
    • It is designed to fly at subsonic speed while maintaining a low altitude, making it difficult to detect on radar.
    • It uses tailored guidance systems to manoeuvre at such low elevations.
    • It has an accuracy of about 5 meters (16 feet).
    • The 6-meter (18.4-foot) long missile has a range of up to 2,400 km (1,500 miles) and can travel as fast as 885 km (550 miles) per hour.
    • Tomahawks are launched vertically from ships, but they can be launched horizontally from torpedo tubes on attack submarines or from external launchers attached to a submarine’s hull.
    • Propulsion: It is powered by a solid propellant during its launch phase. Thereafter, it is powered by a turbofan engine that does not emit much heat, which makes infrared detection difficult.
    • It uses satellite-assisted navigation and TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) radar to guide it to a target.
    • It is capable of twisting and turning like a radar-evading fighter plane, skimming the landscape at an altitude of only 30–90 metres (100–300 feet).
    • It can carry either conventional or nuclear payloads.

Q1) What is a cruise missile?

Cruise missiles are unmanned vehicles that are propelled by jet engines, much like an airplane. They can be launched from ground, air, or sea platforms. Cruise missiles remain within the atmosphere for the duration of their flight and can fly as low as a few meters off the ground. Flying low to the surface of the earth expends more fuel but makes a cruise missile very difficult to detect. 

Source: Japan Inks Deal To Buy 400 Long-Range Missiles From US