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Tomahawk cruise missiles hit Syria – impact, cost per missile, all you want to know

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Washington DC: The US launched as many as 59 powerful Tomahawk cruise missiles against a Syrian airbase from where the latest chemical attack reportedly originated. While the loss that one of the largest Syrian airbase suffered is not yet clear, the US military says that it has been substantial.

Nonetheless, it will take some time before the clear picture emerges. The US had intimidated the Russian government in advance about the impending attack against the military base from where it claims the chemical attack was launched.

This means the Russian government had time not just to stay at safe distance from the base where it has its own base, but also warn the Syrian government about the attack. If this was really the case, the loss suffered by the Syrian government must have been minimal.

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the US, Vladimir Soronkov, told reporters in response to questions about possible US strikes. “All responsibility if military action occurred, will be on shoulders of those who initiated such doubtful and tragic enterprise.”

Before the launch of the blitzkrieg Donald Trump said, “I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity and he [President Bashar al-Assad] is there, and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen”. In the meantime Christopher Swift, professor of national security studies at Georgetown University, said the most important question was whether the Trump administration’s vision in launching the strikes was “an impulsive one or a strategic one”.

Swift goes on to add, “It’s not clear to me, yet, whether this administration has thought through the implications of the actions they took this evening…If the president has a plan, then it will be interesting to see how that plan comes through. But if he doesn’t, he may have done more harm than good.”

Tomahawk cruise missiles are a long-range, all-weather, subsonic missiles that have been mainly used against the Muslim world since early eighties. The Tomahawk missile family consists of a number of subsonic, jet engine-powered missiles designed to attack a variety of surface targets. Although a number of launch platforms have been deployed or envisaged, only sea (both surface ship and submarine) launched variants are currently in service. Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS)actually allows commanders to redirect the missile to an alternative target, if required. It can be reprogrammed in-flight to attack predesignated targets with GPS coordinates stored in its memory or to any other GPS coordinates. It was used in a major way in the Iraq war, in Libya and now in Syria.

Primary Function: Long-range subsonic cruise missile for striking high value or heavily defended land targets.
Contractor: Raytheon Systems Company, Tucson, AZ.
Date Deployed: Block II TLAM-A IOC – 1984
Block III � IOC 1994
Block IV � IOC expected 2004.
Unit Cost: Approximately $569,000 (FY99 $).
Propulsion: Block II/III TLAM-A, C & D – Williams International F107 cruise turbo-fan engine; ARC/CSD solid-fuel booster
Length: 18 feet 3 inches (5.56 meters); with booster: 20 feet 6 inches (6.25 meters).
Diameter: 20.4 inches (51.81 cm).
Wingspan: 8 feet 9 inches (2.67 meters).
Weight: 2,900 pounds (1,315.44 kg); 3,500 pounds (1,587.6 kg) with booster.
Speed: Subsonic – about 550 mph (880 km/h).
Range: Block II TLAM-A � 1350 nautical miles (1500 statute miles, 2500 km)
Block III TLAM-C – 900 nautical miles (1000 statute miles, 1600 km)
Block III TLAM-D – 700 nautical miles (800 statute miles, 1250 km
Block IV TLAM-E – 900 nautical miles (1000 statute miles, 1600 km)
Guidance System: Block II TLAM-A � INS, TERCOM, Block III TLAM-C, D & Block IV TLAM-E � INS, TERCOM, DSMAC, and GPS.
Warhead: Block II TLAM-N � W80 nuclear warhead
Block III TLAM-C and Block IV TLAM-E – 1,000 pound class unitary warhead
Block III TLAM-D – conventional submunitions dispenser with combined effect bomblets

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