Tomahawk Block III
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: RGM-109D, TLAM-C, TLAM-D and UGM-109D
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The BGM-109 Tomahawk missile is a long range, land attack, subsonic, cruise missile launched from surface ships and submarines. The Tomahawk missiles fly at extremely low altitudes at subsonic speeds, and are piloted over an evasive route by several mission tailored guidance systems. Its propulsion system consists of a Williams International F107-WR-402 cruise turbo fan engine and a solid fuel booster. Radar detection of Tomahawk cruise missile is difficult because the missile's low radar cross section and low altitude flight. In addition F107 engine emits little heat.
The baseline Tomahawk cruise missile uses a Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM), INS and Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation (DSMAC) guidance system. Late models add a GPS capability to the guidance system. The Tomahawk can be armed with a W-80 nuclear warhead, a 1,000-pound unitary warhead and a general purpose submunition dispenser with combined effects bomblets. The Tomahawk cruise missiles are delivered to ships and submarines as an all-up-round, including the missile, the booster and the container. The missile was used for the first time in 1991 during the Desert Storm in Iraq. Since then the Tomahawk missile has been used against the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Sudan and recently Iraq during operation Iraqi Freedom (2003) with roughly 800 missiles being fired.
The Tomahawk Block III missile is characterized by adding a GPS guidance capability to the existing TERCOM and INS guidance. The GPS reduces the mission planning timeline and provides an option for GPS only missions. The Block III missile also has a dual warhead, unitary or submunitions dispenser. The Tomahawk Block III was exported to the United Kingdom. Due to absence of VLSs in current nuclear British submarines the Tomahawk missile is launched from the torpedo tubes.
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