The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is a long-range cruise missile designed by the Hughes Missile Systems Company. It can be used against surface ships (as the TASM) or land targets, employing several different types of warheads. Three primary variants are currently operational: nuclear land attack (TLAM-N) (not deployed), conventional land attack (TLAM-C, unitary warhead), and conventional land attack submunition (TLAM-D, dispense bomblets). It is an all-weather, subsonic missile with stubby wings, powered by a small turbofan engine. The small size of the Tomahawk gives it a low radar cross section and its low-level flight profile makes it difficult to intercept. Before launch, each missile is contained within a pressurized canister to form an all-up-round (AUR) to protect the missile during transportation, storage and to act as a launch tube. The submarine AUR is launched from torpedo or vertical tubes (e.g. the later Los Angeles class submarines). Surface ships employ a vertical launching system (VLS).
The Tomahawk is launched on a preset course above the water and, as it crosses over land, switches to an inertial and Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) system to guide the missile to its target with terminal guidance from the Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation (DSMAC) sytem, producing an accuracy of around 10m. The Block III TLAMs, entered service in 1993, have an extended range and incorporate a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver for improved reliability and time-of-arrival control to permit coordinated strikes between other missiles and aircraft. Block IV TLAMs have an upgraded DSMAC system; new Time of Arrival (TOA) control, and improved turbo engines.
The Tomahawk Weapon System (TWS) is comprised of four major components: Tomahawk Missile, Theater Mission Planning Center (TMPC)/Afloat Planning System (APS), Tomahawk Weapon Control System (TWCS) for surface ships, and Combat Control System (CCS) for submarines.
Length: 5.56 meters; with booster: 6.25 meters.
Diameter: 51.81 cm.
Wing Span: 2.67 meters.
Weight: 1192.5 kg; 1440 kg with booster
Power Plant: Williams International F107-WR-402 turbo-fan and a solid-fuel booster.
Range: 1100 km.
Speed: about 880 km/hr
Warheads: Conventional: 1,000 pounds Bullpup, or Conventional submunitions dispenser with combined effect bomblets, or 200 kt. W-80 nuclear device.
Date Deployed: 1983
Costs: $1,400,000 - average unit cost ; $11,210,000,000 - total program cost.