miércoles, 28 de agosto de 2013

BGM-109 Tomahawk: A brief look

Whatever course of action President Obama and allies decide on in Syria, you can bet the attack will begin with salvos of BGM-109 cruise missiles.

The BGM-109, known commonly as the Tomahawk, has been used in each of America's official conflicts in the last 22 years. Using wings and a flight system, Tomahawk can carry a heavy warhead at subsonic speeds over a significant distance.

Originally developed by General Dynamics in the 70s, the 3,500 lb. 20 foot long Tomahawk missile is now manufactured by Raytheon, a large U.S. defense contractor. The missile's modular system allows it to carry a conventional or nuclear payload if needed. When launched, the missile flies low at close to 550 mph, with current versions allowing an operator to control the missile's speed on target. All U.S. Navy destroyers, cruisers, and attack submarines are equipped with the Tomahawk weapons system.

Tomahawks come in four varieties:
The Block II TLAM-A: a nuclear version
The Block III TLAM-C: conventional version
The Block III TLAM-D: cluster bomb version
The Block IV TLAM-E: called the Tactical Tomahawk, it can hover over it's target for hours and change directions long after it's been fired. 

Technical Specifications

Contractor: Raytheon Missile Systems Company, Tucson, AZ

Unit Cost:
  • $600,000 for older Tomahawks
  • $1.45 million for Tactical Tomahawks
Length: 20.3 feet 
Diameter: 21 inches 
Wingspan: 8 feet 9 inches 
Weight: 3,330 pounds
Speed: Subsonic (meaning slower than the speed of sound.)

  • Block II TLAM-A - 1350 nautical miles (2.500 Km)
  • Block III TLAM-C - 900 nautical miles (1.667 Km)
  • Block III TLAM-D - 700 nautical miles (1.300 Km)
  • Block IV TLAM-E - 900 nautical miles (1.667 Km)
Block II TLAM-N: W80 nuclear warhead
Block III TLAM-C: 1.000 pounds (453 Kg) warhead
Block III TLAM-D: conventional submunitions dispenser with combined effect bomblets.
Block IV TLAM-E: 1.000 pounds (453 Kg) warhead

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