There are probably a lot of times you’ve heard about Tomahawk cruise missiles appearing on news, television. This is a strategic weapon of the United States and a top choice for quick attacks . The United States has the world’s most advanced arsenal, but why does cruise missiles always appear so dense compared to other weapons?
We would like to introduce to you the article which provides an overview and details of cruise missiles, how they operate and why they are ideal in certain situations.
Start with the basics
The cruise missile is basically a small, unmanned aircraft, usually with a wingspan of 2.61 meters, powered by a jet engine and capable of flying from 805km to 1610km depending on configuration.
The mission of a cruise missile is to bring heavy bombs weighing about 450kg to the target. The missile will be completely destroyed when the bomb explodes. Because cruise missiles are very expensive, from $ 500,000 to $ 1,000,000 each, this is a very costly measure.
The cruise missile has several variants and can be launched from submarines, destroyers or planes. When you hear about hundreds of cruise missiles firing on targets, it’s almost always the Tomahawk type launched by destroyers.
Is the cruise missile very large?
The cruise missiles are usually 6.25 meters long and about 0.52 meters in diameter. At launch, they include a solid fuel propellant (about 250 kg) and weighs about 1.45 tons. The rocket will leave when burning the rocket fuel. Then the wings, tail and air inlet opened, and the jet engine operated.
This engine only weighs about 65kg and produces a thrust equivalent to a mass of 270kg to burn RJ4 fuel. The fuel is loaded about 450kg or approximately 600 liters at startup. When flying, the missile has a speed of about 880km / hour.
How does the cruise missile navigation system work?
The most striking feature of a cruise missile is the incredible accuracy . They can fly 1,000 miles and accurately identify a small target. In addition, cruise missiles are also effective in evading enemy detection because they fly very low near the ground, beyond the radar range of most radar systems.
Each cruise missile is made up of four different systems to help reach the target , including inertial navigation systems (IGS), global positioning system (GPS), navigation systems based on Terrain changes (tercom) and digital correlation system (DSMAC).
IGS is a standard acceleration system that can track the position of a rocket based on motion. Meanwhile Tercom uses a 3-D database on the terrains that the missiles will fly through. The Tercom system “sees” the terrain by using the radar system and connecting to the 3-D map stored in memory. Tercom will be responsible in case the cruise missile “lies” when flying. The GPS system uses the military network from GPS satellites and a GPS receiver on the missile to detect its location with great accuracy.
When approaching the target, the missile switches to a “terminal navigation system” to select the impact points. These points can be pre-programmed by GPS or Tercom system. The DSMAC system uses a camera and a correlative image to find the target, and is especially useful in the case of moving targets. A cruise missile can also be equipped with image sensors or thermal illumination as in smart bombs.