The General Dynamics Tomahawk cruise missile has a lightweight aluminium airframe designed for maximum flight performance.
The General Dynamics Tomahawk cruise missile has a lightweight aluminium airframe designed for maximum flight performance. It can be launched form a variety of existing submarine, surface ship, aircraft and land platforms.
The missile is encased in a protective capsule of stainless steel for ease of loading and handling. The rugged capsule also protects the missile from severe shocks, such as those caused by depth charges that detonate near the submarine.
The encapsulated missile is loaded into a torpedo tube in preparation for underwater launch at the Naval Undersea Center, San Clemente Island.
The torpedo tube's hydraulic forces eject the missile from the tube and the capsule.
Clear of the torpedo tube, the booster engine ignites and the missile steers itself to the surface using the jet-tab control system on the booster.
Once out of the water, and still under booster power, protective covers are jettisoned and the tail fins extend. Then, at booster termination, the wings and jet-engine inlet scoop deploy and the booster is jettisoned.
On this first underwater launch and boost/glide test, the missile climbed to an altitude of 1,100 feet and glided over the range for two miles -- all as scheduled. For this test, the missile was not equipped with the air-breathing engine that is used for cruise flight. Integrated engine/airframe performance has already been demonstrated in a separate series of full-scale wind tunnel tests.
which compares pre-programmed geographical features on ??? flight plan with geography the missile ??? during actual flight.
A full range of programmatic and technical options (including the possibility of angle integrated program, and the use of advanced fuels) are being preserved until improved cost and performance data can be obtained and evaluated.