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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tomohawk missile punches through a shipping container

‘Operation Desert Storm’ and ‘Operation Desert Shield’ were the names of combat  waged by coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait in 1990.

During the war, it was name that was often heard – a cruise missile (the BGM-109) 20-foot-long weapon reportedly  costing $1.3 million.  It was described as a ‘ booster rocket shoots the missile off a ship or submarine. Then the small turbofan engine takes over and the missile jets toward land, directed by its "inertial-guidance system" which uses sensors and gyroscopes to measure acceleration and changes in direction. Once the missile crosses the shoreline, a more precise guidance method, TERCOM, takes over. TERCOM scans the landscape at set checkpoints, taking altitude readings and comparing them to map data in its computer memory. The missile moves at about 550 miles per hour, and can make twists and turns like a radar-evading fighter plane all the while skimming over the land at 100 feet to 300 feet’ .  In 1991 - 288  of it were launched. The first salvo was fired by the cruiser USS San Jacinto in Jan 1991. 

It is the ‘ Tomahawk ’  a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile. The missile was named after the Native American axe. Introduced by McDonnell Douglas in the 1970s, it was initially designed as a medium to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a surface platform. It has been improved several times, and due to corporate divestitures and acquisitions, is now made by Raytheon.

It is in news recently for the test conducted – that of a Raytheon Tomahawk land attack missile (TLAM) against a moving target at sea – that could be a short-term answer to the U.S. Navy’s long-range anti-surface missile problem.  The test – conducted off of San Nicolas Island, Calif. – demonstrated that a TLAM launched from a ship could be guided into a moving target at sea by a Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

An unclassified video of the test, obtained by USNI News, shows the missile launch from guided missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG-100), fly for an unspecified amount of time and punch a hole through a shipping container on a moving ship target and skip across the ocean.  “It demonstrates the viability of long-range communications for position updates of moving targets,” Capt. Joe Mauser, Tomahawk Weapons System (PMA-280) program manager for Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said in a Feb. 5 Navy statement. “This success further demonstrates the existing capability of Tomahawk as a netted weapon, and in doing so, extends its reach beyond fixed and re-locatable points to moving targets.”

In what is termed as an extraordinary footage - Tomahawk missile is seen punching a hole completely through a moving shipping container during U.S. Navy training exercise.  The Tomahawk Block IV – unlike earlier versions of the missile – has the ability to adjust its flight path based on new information given to the missile allowing it to hit moving targets. The missile is fired powerfully into the air in a plume of smoke and travels considerable distance before it is seen punching through a container. The explosive then emerges out of the other side and bounces along the surface of the ocean.

It is stated that a previous tomahawk missile with a 200 nautical mile range was previously developed by the Navy in the 1980s, but there was a lack of technology to control it or ensure it hit the correct target. Due to its limited success and the danger of hitting friendly or neutral ships, the missiles were developed into land attack tomahawks.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Feb 2015.

Source : http://news.usni.org and Daily Mail.

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