What Exactly is a Tomahawk Missile?

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Using GPS guidance missiles are extremely accurate.

They are designed to take out fixed targets, exactly what it did Thursday night.

59 Tomahawk missiles were used to destroy a western Syria airbase overnight. Many Americans wonder, what exactly Tomahawks are?

The missiles can travel as far as 900 miles and move at 550 miles per hour. They weigh as much as 3500 pounds each.

The jet-engine powered weapon, is what many figured the U.S. would rely on to take action.

“I wasn’t at all surprised the tomahawk is one of those tested combat weapons, that’s often the first to strike, it’s been used in operation Iraqi freedom, Libya in 2011,” said Kris Osborn.

Osborn is the managing editor for Scout Warrior and editor-in-chief for Defense Systems.

He says the missiles are extremely accurate, allowing attackers to be at a safer distance.

“It’s long range, it can destroy fixed targets, enemy bunkers, command and control. It uses GPS guidance and inertia measurement movements to pinpoint targets.”

Tomahawks can be launched from many different surfaces but the U.S. generally uses Navy cruisers or destroyers, or sometimes submarines.

The U.S. defense contractor Raytheon makes the Tomahawk. Each has the ability to send back information almost like a surveillance asset.

Osborn says in a few years the missiles will be even more effective.

“That is the goal for the future of the weapon, to not only destroy fixed targets but be effective against moving targets,” Osborn said.

According to the Navy, the missiles hit their target about 85 percent of the time.

Each missile costs around $1.4 million.

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