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Tactical Tomahawk

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→ http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=6767

History was made April 5, as the U.S. Navy's new Tomahawk cruise missile, Tactical Tomahawk, was launched from an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Stethem (DDG 63), in the waters of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) sea test range off the coast of southern California.

I'm glad to see this, as the Tactical Tomahawk is quite featureful. It has the ability to be retargeted as it's flying. This leads to some interesting tactics that can be used by people flying it.

The first, and most obvious, is that it could reduce the number of weapons that need to be sent. Using the radio link, the military could be aware of which weapons have reached their targets. If a missile fails to reach its target, a missile that has been fired at a low-priority target can be sent to back it up. This, coupled with the fact that the Tactical Tomahawk is half the cost of its predecessors, leads to a big savings, as we no longer have to throw pairs of missiles at high-priority targets.

The second tactic is one I thought of as the deadline was counting down. A few hours after an ultimatum is given, a volley of missiles can be fired. If the deadline expires without satisfaction being given, the missiles can be retargeted in flight to hit actual targets, seconds after the deadline elapsed. Otherwise, the missiles fall harmlessly in the desert. The psychological value of such a weapon would be immense.

- Tom | permalink | changelog | Last updated: 2003-04-11 10:22

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