The Physics
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Range of a Cruise Missile

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Laur, M. Timothy, & Steven L. Llanso. Modern US Military Weapons. New York: Berkeley Books, 1995: 284 "BGM-109B:
More than 250 nm (288 mi; 464 km)
approx 700 nm (806 mi; 1,297 km)
approx 1,350 nm (1,555 mi; 2500 km)"
465 km
1297 km
2500 km
"Cruise Missile" Britannica Micropaedia. 16th ed. 1997 "The air launched cruise missilies had a length of 6.3 m; it attained a range of 2500 km. It was designed ofr deployment on the B-52 Bomber. The Tomahawk sea- launched and the Tomahwak ground- launched cruise missile had a length of 6.4 m, a diameter of 53 cm and a range of 2500 km." 2500 km
Weapons: An International Encyclopedia from 5000 BC to 2000 AD. New York: St Martins Press, 1980. 262. "Tomahawk and the Air Launched Cruise Missile have the same basic subsystem, strategic and tactical roles, and can carry nuclear warheads.
Propulsion: Turbofan
Guidance: TERCOM
Weight: 3200 lbs
Range: 1500 mi (2500 km)"
2500 km
Cruise Missile. The Columbia Encyclopedia. "The missile, which flies at altitudes of about 50 ft (15 m), has a range of up to 2,000 mi (3,200 km)." < 3,200 km
Tomahawk Cruise Missile. US Navy. 28 November 2000. "Range: 870 nautical miles (1000 statute miles, 1,609 km)" 1609 km

A cruise missile is a missile that is guided by a navigation system and is able to sustain flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its path in air. Its main purpose is to place ordnance on a targeted spot.

There are different types of cruise missiles, and each differs from its mass to its speed. The different types of cruise missiles include ground-launched, sea-launched, and air-launched cruise missiles. Some have relatively short ranges while some were made to travel long distances and have long ranges. The ranges of cruise missiles vary from 105 km to 3,000 km. The similarity between the missiles is that they fly low and have low radar. This ability allows them to evade detection in defense systems. The average radar cross-section in a cruise missile is 1 square meter.

Most of the production of the cruise missiles in the United States occurred in the 1970s. The development of the first basic cruise missile occurred in the 1940s, used by the Germans in World War II. The structure of the cruise missile has been changed since the first model. The Tomahawk cruise missile was frequently used and became the weapon of choice for the United States Department of Defense. It is known for its long range for both sea launches and ground launches. The range of the Tomahawk is 2,500 km. These missiles are guided with TERCOM, terrain contour matching missile guidance system that uses contour maps. 85% of the time, the Tomahawk would hit at its correct target. Tomahawk cruise missiles were the same cruise missiles used by the United States to attack Iraq in 1993. From January to June of 1993, 68 missiles were directed in that area: 44 of the missiles hit nuclear facilities, 1 hit a hotel, 20 hit the Iraq Intelligence Headquarters, and the remaining 3 hit a residential area. Cruise missiles are dangerous.

Shirley Cheung -- 2002