Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile during a flight test

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile.

Introduced by General Dynamics in the 1970s, it was designed as a medium- to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a submerged submarine.


It has been improved several times and, by way of corporate divestitures and acquisitions, is now made by Raytheon.



There have been several variants of the Tomahawk employing various types of warheads. The operational versions include the unitary conventional land attack TLAM-C, the bomblet-dispensing land attack TLAM-D, the nuclear land attack TLAM-A and TLAM-N (not deployed), and the Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM). Ground Launch Cruise Missiles (GLCM) and their truck-like launch vehicles were destroyed to comply with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The Block III TLAMs that entered service in 1993 can fly farther and use Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to strike more precisely. Block IV TLAMs have a better Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC) system as well as improved turbojet engines. The WR-402 engine provided the new BLK III with a throttle control, allowing the missile to slow down or speed up during flight. This engine also provided better fuel economy. The Block IV Phase II TLAMs have better deep-strike capabilities and are equipped with a real-time targeting system for striking moving targets.

Type All weather long range submarine or ship-launched land-attack cruise missile
Manufacturer Raytheon
Weight 2,650lb (1,193kg), Warhead up to 1,000lb
Warhead Conventional: 1,000 pounds, or Conventional submunitions dispenser with combined effect bomblets, or WDU-36 warhead with PBXN-107 explosive & FMU-148 fuse, or 200kt W-80 nuclear device
Length 18ft 3in (5.5m)
Diameter 20.4in (52cm)
Wingspan 8ft 9in (2.7m)
Performance Range 1,000 miles (1,600km), speed 550mph (890kmh), guidance inertial and TERCOM
Propulsion Williams International F107-WR-402 cruise turbo-fan engine; solid-fuel booster

Photo US Navy