What are the Tomahawk missiles used by the USA against Houthi rebels?

The United States used Tomahawk missiles, a proven and reliable weapon it has been working on since the 1940s, to attack Houthi rebels in Yemen. So how do they work? The cruise missiles that Joe Biden decided to use to shoot down militias threatening commercial ships in the Red Sea are the result of decades of study and design process. The process began in the 1970s, and supply to the US military officially began in 1983 with the participation of contractor McConnell Douglas.

What are Tomahawk missiles and how do they work?

The original version of the project included three different types of Tomahawk, consisting of one anti-ship missile with conventional warheads and 2 missiles with nuclear or conventional warheads to hit land targets. Only this latest version, produced by the Raytheon Company, an American company that perfected and improved the original idea, is used today.

Today, the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is a cruise missile that is approximately 6.5 meters long and weighs approximately 1.5 tons. The launch is carried out from conventional torpedo tubes found on submarines or from the vertical tubes that characterize most modern submarines. After taking off, the missile “opens” its two wings and reaches a speed of approximately 800 km per hour, and can hit targets 2500 km away. One of the main features of such missiles is precision, which is guaranteed by a number of relevant systems: the use of GPS (also integrated with satellites), TERCOM (Terrain Environment Matching using radar signals) and DSMAC (Digital Scene Matching Field) The correlator using stored optical images determines the trajectory during flight allows you to change and center the target. The current version, the Block IV Tactical Tomahawk, or TACTOM, has a data link that also allows you to change targets in flight. As the missile approaches its target, it descends to a height of 30-40 meters and prepares for impact.

“Debut” during the Gulf War

Official launches of Tomahawk missiles date back to the Gulf War: the first launch by USS Paul F. Foster was dated January 17, 1991. Approximately 300 more missiles were launched from ships and submarines during the attack. The effectiveness of the Tomahawk facilitated the proliferation of the missile, which was used frequently throughout the decade. The US used the weapon to hit targets in Iraq in 1998 and then in 2003. The protocol followed by the US Navy since 2020 calls for recertification and possibly modernization of missiles to achieve the Block V version. Raytheon Corporation, the United States and allied countries have flight tested the Tomahawk 550 times and used it in combat more than 2,300 times.

Source: Today IT