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Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014

Tomahawk Cruise Missile Variants

Technical Report APA-TR-2005-0702

by Dr Carlo Kopp, SMAIAA, SMIEEE, PEng
July, 2005
Updated August, 2008
Updated November, 2010
Updated April, 2012
© 2005 - 2012 Carlo Kopp

The General Dynamics Tomahawk family of cruise missiles is a pivotal type in the development of modern cruise missiles. The baseline Tomahawk spawned a large number of subtypes or variants during the 1980s, followed by ongoing evolution of the most widely used TLAM-C/D variant, culminating in the largely new low cost 'Tactical Tomahawk' design of the current era.

Moreover, the Soviet Raduga Kh-55/RKV-500 Granat or 'Tomahawk-ski' was patterned after the BGM-109 series, spawning submarine, ship, air and ground launched variants. Despite its unique engine arrangement and later evolution, the Granat follows the Tomahawk model closely. More recent Russian weapons such as the new Novator 3M-54E1 and 3M-14E Club S/N cruise missiles, while again unique, follow the pattern of the Tomahawk. What we know of the PLA's emerging indigenous cruise missile designs indicates a similar evolution.

This webpage will provide some insight into the early evolution of the Tomahawk family of missiles, using materials provided to the author during the 1980s by General Dynamics and McDonnell-Douglas, who manufactured the missile during that period.


Type  BGM-109C  BGM-109D  Block III  AGM-109H*  AGM-109L* 

Launch Platform  sub/ship  sub/ship  sub/ship  B-52, F-16  A-6E 


Dimensions [ft] 

Span  8.58  8.58  8.58  8.58  8.58 
Length  20.5  20.5  20.5  19.5  16.5 
Diameter [in]  21.0  21.0  21.0  21.0  21.0 

Launch Weight [lb]  3,000  3,000  3,000  2,650   2,250 


Penetration 1,000 lb  Bullpup B  WDU-18/Condor
Penetration 700 lb  Custom 
Cluster Munition  166xBLU-97 
Anti Runway Munition  BLU-106 

Fuel Capacity [lb]  800  800  1026  450  450 


Manufacturer  WR  WR  WR  WR  WR 
Model  F107-WR100 F107-WR100 F107-WR100 F107-WR100 F107-WR100 
Thrust,Dry [lbf]  600  600  600  600  600 

Midcourse Guidance

Midcourse Inertial  P-1000  P-1000  RPU  RLG  RLG 
Midcourse TERCOM  DPW-23  DPW-23  RPU  DPW-23  DPW-23 
GPS Navigation  RPU 

Terminal Guidance 

EO Seeker  FLIR/IIR 
Datalink  Walleye 


Cruise Speed [Mach]  0.5-0.75  0.5-0.75  0.5-0.75  0.5-0.75  0.5-0.75 
Range [NM]  600  600  750   330   330 

 *AGM-109H/L were never operationally deployed

Table 1:  AGM/BGM-109 Variants

General Dynamics - Convair images

BGM/RGM-109A Tomahawk Land Attack Missile - Nuclear (TLAM-N)

BGM/RGM-109B Tomahawk Anti Ship Missile (TASM)

With the collapse of the Soviet Voenno-Morskii Flot as a key global player after 1991, much of the TASM warstock was rebuilt into TLAM-Cs and used to bombard land targets instead.

BGM/RGM-109C Tomahawk Land Attack Missile - Conventional (TLAM-C)

The TLAM-C was by far the most widely used of the early Tomahawk variants, and played a major role in the Desert Storm campaign of 1991.

BGM/RGM-109D Tomahawk Land Attack Missile - Dispenser (TLAM-D)

The submunition dispensing TLAM-D was used in Desert Storm, and subsequently, for niche roles where the submunition payloads were more useful than the unitary warhead.

BGM/RGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile - Block III (TLAM-C)

The Block III TLAM-C was a major improvement over the baseline TLAM-C, incorporating GPS to provide additional inputs to the Kalman filter in the navigation system. This resolved issues arising from poor TERCOM fixes in flat or poorly featured terrain, characteristic of major Middle Eastern and littoral environments.

MDC images

Late Model Block III

Late Model Block III

US Navy Images

BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM)

The GLCM was without doubt the most strategically important of the early Tomahawk variants. Deployed in Europe to balance the Soviet SS-20 force, the GLCM drove the Soviets to the negotiating table. The GLCM stock was subsequently destroyed in compliance with the resulting treaty.

AGM-109H/L Medium Range Air to Surface Missile (MRASM)

The MRASMs were direct derivatives of the Tomahawk, designed to provide a tactical cruise missile for delivery by the US Air Force B-52G and F-16C, and the Navy A-6E Intruder. The MRASM used a turbojet reducing range and cost, but retained much of the core guidance system of the early TLAM-C/D, with additional enhancements. The MRASM was cancelled in favour of the AGM-137A TSSAM, which was also cancelled, in favour of the AGM-158 JASSM, now entering production. While the MRASM died quietly during the 1980s, its successors such as the SLAM-ER, TSSAM and JASSM all adopted the same model of combining cruise missile guidance, turbojet propulsion and terminal seekers.

Tomahawk Production

Hughes Aircraft Company images.

RGM/UGM-109E Tomahawk Land Attack Missile - Block IV

Block IV - US Navy PMA 280

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