The Tomahawk AGM-86 is an unmanned ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile) designed to attack ground targets from an aircraft such as the B-52 or B-1.

The wings, tail surfaces, and engine inlet of the AGM-86 are folded while the ALCM is being carried but are deployed upon launching. Powered by a small turbofan engine which starts when the missile is released, the Tomahawk AGM-86 flies at low altitudes. The slim wings of the Tomahawk are sufficient because the ALCM does not takeoff or land and flies only at high speed.

The Tomahawk AGM-86 is programmed to fly to a preselected target by inertial guidance and by comparison techniques through which prerecorded geographical features are matched with the terrain “seen” by the missile’s sensors.

Each B-52 carries at least twelve AGM-86’s. This permits a bomber force to launch them in large numbers, saturating defenses. Further hampering enemy defenses are the small size and low-altitude flight profile of the Tomahawk, which make it difficult for the enemy to detect on radar.

The AGM-86B became operational in December 1982.

Tomahawk AGM-86 Performance

Maximum Speed 500 mph.
Range Approximately 1500 miles
Operating Altitude Approximately 100-500 ft. above terrain
Maximum Altitude Above 20,000 feet (estmated)

Tomahawk AGM-86 Specifications

Country of Origin USA.
Similar Aerial Platform(s) Apache.
Role Air-launched cruise missile.
Armament Gihh Explosive (HE) or W-80-1 nuclear warhead
Engine Williams International F107-WR-101 turbofan of 600 lbs. thrust
Span 12 ft.
Length 20 ft. 9 in.
Body diameter 24 in.
Weight 3,100 lbs. loaded

Tomahawk AGM-86 WEFT Description

Wings Low-mounted, swept-back, and untapered with small, square tips.
Engine(s) Turbofan in aft section. Oval intake and a round exhaust. May have propfan.
Fuselage Slabsided with flat bottom. Tapers to a round nose and at rear section.
Tail Fin backtapered with square tip. Flats low-mounted and straight. Some versions have V-tail.

Countries which Fly the Tomahawk AGM-86

USA.

Additional Reading on the Tomahawk AGM-86

Air Launched Cruise Missile – ALCM AGM-86C

Official Boeing Data Sheet on the Tomahawk AGM-86

Tomahawk AGM-86 Manufacturer Web Site

Boeing

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