An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Tomahawk Cruise Missile

Last updated: 27 Sep 2021

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is an all-weather, long range, subsonic cruise missile used for deep land attack warfare, launched from U. S. Navy surface ships and U.S. Navy and United Kingdom Royal Navy submarines.

The Tomahawk Block IV (Tactical Tomahawk, TLAM-E), conventional variant, which entered the Fleet in 2004, adds the capability to reprogram the missile while in-flight via two-way satellite communications to strike any of 15 pre-programmed alternate targets or redirect the missile to any Global Positioning System (GPS) target coordinates.

The Block IV missile is capable of loitering over a target area in order to respond to emerging targets or, with its on-board camera, provide battle damage information to warfighting commanders.

The Navy received its first Block V configured Tomahawk missile from Raytheon in March 2021, paving the way to provide the fleet with an upgraded warfighting capability. The first Block V missiles are from the existing Tomahawk Block IV inventory, and have been recertified and modernized for fleet use.

The mid-life recertification process replaces life-limited components in Block IV missiles to enable their remaining 15 years of service life, and provides the opportunity for the missiles to receive Block V modernizations. All Block IV missiles will undergo recertification and modernization.

Block V missiles feature Navigation/Communications (NAV/COMMs) upgrade that enhances navigation performance and provides robust and reliable communications. Future Block V capabilities will include the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) variant, which adds a seeker kit (designated as Block Va), and a replacement for the current warhead with the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS) (designated as Block Vb).

Tomahawk cruise missiles are designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds, and are piloted over an evasive route by several mission tailored guidance systems. The first operational use was in Operation Desert Storm, 1991, with immense success. The missile has since been used successfully in several other conflicts. In 1995 the governments of the United States and United Kingdom signed a Foreign Military Sales Agreement for the acquisition of 65 missiles, marking the first sale of Tomahawk to a foreign country. In 2003, an agreement was approved for the United Kingdom to procure 65 Block IV Torpedo Tube Launch Tomahawks. The United Kingdom began to receive Block IV missile deliveries in January 2008 and successfully declared their In-Service-Date in March 2008.

General Characteristics & Primary Function: Long-range subsonic cruise missile for striking high value or heavily defended land targets
Contractor: Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Tucson, Arizona
Date Deployed: Block II TLAM-A – IOC 1984 (retired)
Block III TLAM-C, D (retired) – IOC 1994
Block IV – IOC 2004
Block V – Fleet introduction 2021
Propulsion: Block II /III TLAM-A, C & D (retired).
Block IV/V TLAM-E – Williams International 415-400 turbofan engine; ARC/CSD solid-fuel booster.
Range: Block III TLAM-C (retired)
Block III TLAM-D (retired)
Block IV/V TLAM-E – 900 nautical miles (1000 statute miles, 1600 km)
Guidance System: Block II TLAM-A (retired)
Block III TLAM-C, D (retired)
Warhead: Block II TLAM-N (retired) – W80 nuclear warhead
Block III TLAM-C (retired)
Block III TLAM-D (retired)
Block IV TLAM-E - 1,000 pound class unitary warhead

Point of Contact
Program Executive Office
Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons [PEO (U&W)]

Naval Air Station Patuxent River
Maryland 20670-1547

(240) 925-5305


Google Translation Disclaimer

Guidance-Card-Icon Dept-Exclusive-Card-Icon