They will rain down from heaven like a rain of fire. Like a gust of "divine wind", sweeping enemy battalions from the face of the Earth. Winged suicide robots. They are braver than the most courageous kamikazes and ruthless than the most cruel SS umbrella teams.
Not a single muscle will tremble before the face of death. Machines are not afraid to kill and die. They are already dead from the beginning. And, if necessary, they will disappear without hesitation in a blinding flash when confronted with a target.
In the meantime ... the rocket rushes through the darkness of the night to the place of its death.
An hour ago, she left a cozy cell aboard a submarine and, having made her way through a layer of cold water, jumped to the surface. The booster flame boomed, raising the Tomahawk to 1000 feet. There, on the descending branch of the launch site, the engine air intake was advanced, short wings and tail fins opened: the combat robot rushed after the head of its victim. Now nothing will save the unfortunates whose photos are laid in the memory of the flying killer ...
Myth number XXUMX. "Tomahawk" is everything.
Nikita Sergeevich, are you still here ?!
Rocket euphoria does not leave minds and hearts: the impressive abilities of the “Ax” gave rise to confidence that the use of only cruise missiles alone can bring victory in any war.
Why risk expensive aircraft and the priceless life of a pilot? These endless training and advanced training of flight personnel. Airfields, fuel, ground support staff ...
Why such complications and unjustified risk, if you can drive a squadron of submarines and throw strikes of thousands of flying suicide robots? The range of the "Ax" in the "conventional" version - 1200 ... 1600 km - allows you to perform a task without entering the enemy's defeat zone. Simple, effective and safe.
12 launchers in the bow of a Los Angeles-type PLA
The mass of the missile warhead - 340 kg. There are a dozen different variants of warheads for various types of targets: cluster, armor-piercing, semi-armored, "normal" combat parts of high-explosive action ... Several attack algorithms: from horizontal flight, from a dive, with undermining during a horizontal flight over the target. All this allows you to perform almost any task on the territory of the enemy.
Eliminate the selected target, destroy any military or civilian infrastructure. Break the runway of the airfield, set fire to the hangar with military equipment, dump the radio tower, blow up a power station, punch a few meters of ground and concrete - and destroy the protected command post.
Continuously, work is underway to expand the tactical flexibility of the use of cruise missiles: the latest modification of the RGM / BGM-109E Tactical Tomahawk was equipped with satellite communication units and GPS navigation. The new rocket can patrol in the air, waiting for the right moment to attack. In addition, she received the ability to reprogram in flight and, depending on the situation, to attack one of the 15 pre-planned targets.
Attack with horizontal flight
The only thing that “Tomahawk” is still not able to do is to attack moving objects. *
* the ability to effectively defeat moving targets, including ships, was implemented in the modification "Tomahawk» Block IV Multi-Mode Mission (TMMM), recognized excessively expensive and never adopted by the US Navy
In addition, there was a modification of the BGM-109B Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missle (TASM) - the Tomahawk anti-ship variant with the active radar GPS from the Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Due to the lack of a worthy opponent, TASM was decommissioned about 10 years ago.
Intercept convoy with weapons (for example, S-300 air defense missile systems on the march) or delay the upcoming tank battalion? Modern cruise missiles are powerless on such tasks. Will have to call Aviation.
Front-line bombers, attack aircraft, attack helicopters, UAVs, in the end - these "birds" still have no equal over the battlefield. High tactical flexibility (up to the complete abolition of the mission and return to the base) and a wide range of ammunition make aviation indispensable in the fight against ground targets.
Nevertheless, the trend is evident: the experience of local wars over the past 20 years has demonstrated an 10-fold increase in the role of sea-based cruise missiles (SLCMs). Every year, "Tomahawks" acquire new skills and "get access" to perform more and more complex tasks.
The destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52) shelled Libya as part of Operation Dawn Odyssey (2011 year)
As practice has shown, the SLCM quite successfully “trample” the victim into the Stone Age, destroy the air defense system and disorganize the enemy army. Left in the first hours of the war without radar, air defense systems, airfields, power plants, fuel storage facilities, cell and radio towers, command posts and other strategic facilities, the enemy is unable to provide serious resistance. Now you can take it "cushy."
In such conditions, super-expensive and complicated stealth planes, etc., are no longer needed. Bomb bridges and retreating tank columns with unattainable heights? This task is easy to handle simple and cheap F-16.
Myth number XXUMX. "Tomahawk" is able to get into the window.
The accuracy of "Tomahawk" is the cause of heated debate. During Operation Storm in the Desert, wreckage of American missiles was found even in Iran - some of the Topors deviated from the course by several hundred kilometers! The result of a programmer's error or an accidental crash in the rocket on-board computer
But what are the real possibilities of "Tomahawks"? What is the calculated value of their circular probable deviation (CEP)?
Traditional methods of targeting "Tomahawks" include:
- INS for flights over terrain with a poorly pronounced radar contrast (for example, over the sea - the water is the same everywhere). Gyroscopes and accelerometers work until the rocket arrives in the first area of correction over the enemy's coast, then the guidance is carried out in more high-tech ways.
- Terrain Contour Matching Relief System (TERCOM) - scans the underlying terrain and compares the data with the radar images stored in the rocket's memory.
The very principle of work of TERCOM serves as a reason for a lot of jokes: “While the Yankees will prepare the flight mission, our construction bat re-digs the whole relief”! But seriously speaking, TERCOM is one of the most reliable and effective methods for targeting SLCMs. "Tomahawk" focuses on the terrain in offline mode: it does not need constant guidance from the satellite or from a remote operator. This increases reliability and eliminates the risk of being deceived by enemy signals.
On the other hand, it imposes a number of restrictions - for example, TERCOM is ineffective when flying over deserts or snow-covered tundra. The terrain should include a maximum of contrasting objects (hills, roads and glades, railway embankments, settlements). The route is laid in such a way as to avoid open water spaces (lakes, estuaries of large rivers, etc.) on the way of the rocket - otherwise, this may lead to critical malfunctions in the rocket’s navigation system.
All this creates for the Yankees such a problem as the “predictability” of their missile attacks and, consequently, an increase in losses among the missiles launched. The enemy (if, of course, he has at least a drop of ingenuity) will quickly calculate the main directions of the threat - and set up air defense systems there.
- The third method of targeting. Optical-electronic system DSMAC in the final part of the trajectory of the rocket behaves like the legendary Terminator from the action movie James Cameron: it continuously scans the area with its electronic "eye", checking the image of the "victim" with a digital photograph embedded in its memory. The future is now!
- Finally, the last modification of the "Ax" was able to navigate according to GPS. This greatly simplifies the process of preparing to launch, because There is no need for complex maps for TERCOM work (routes and radar images of the terrain are prepared in advance, on the coast - in the training centers for flight missions on the territory of the naval base of Norfolk and Camp Smith).
In the case of working in GPS navigation mode, the crew of the ship can “drive in” the coordinates into the rocket’s memory without any specific description of the target — the rocket will do everything on its own, simply by exploding in the vicinity of the specified location. Accuracy decreases, but efficiency increases. SLCMs can now be used as a fire support tool and work on the emergency calls of marines.
In polygon conditions, in the presence of high-quality images of the “target”, the value of the circular deviation “Tomahawk” is indicated within 5 ... 15 meters. And this is with the launch range in 1000 and more kilometers! Impressive.
Myth number XXUMX. Tomahawk is easy to knock down.
Well, do it! Does not work?...
Security "Ax" is ensured by its secrecy. Extremely low altitude - just a few tens of meters - makes it invisible to ground-based radar. In this case, the radio horizon does not exceed 20-30 km, and considering the natural obstacles (hills, buildings, trees) - the detection of a low-flying rocket, which is cleverly hidden in the folds of the relief, is a very doubtful event.
Special operations boat based on the Ohio missile carrier. A total of 22 Tomahawk + 154 mines are placed in the 2 of the ship’s missile silos as sluice chambers for combat swimmers.
To find, take on escort and hit such a "difficult target" from the ground - this requires a large proportion of luck and, preferably, knowledge of the most likely routes of the Tomahawks approach. Accident, nothing more. There is no need to talk about any effective counteraction to the SLCM flocks.
Intercepting the "Ax" with the help of air tools is no less complicated - the small size and the EPR missiles make the "hunt for Tomahawks" an extremely difficult undertaking.
Tomahawk SLCM dimensions: length - 5,6 m, wingspan - 2,6 m.
For comparison - the size of the Su-27 fighter: length - 22 meters, wingspan - 14,7 meters.
"Ax" has a smooth, streamlined shape, without any radiopaque parts and hanging elements. The Yankees hint at using radio-absorbing coatings and materials transparent to radio waves in its design. Even without taking into account the elements of the stealth technology, the effective dispersion area of the Tomahawk rocket does not exceed 1 sq. meters - too small to detect it from a distance. Finally, the search for a flying rocket is made against the background of the earth, which adds additional complexity to the work of fighter radars.
Official data on the MiG-31 interceptor confirm the following: from a height of 6000 meters, a target capture with an 1 ESR square. The meter flying at an altitude of 60 meters is produced at a distance of 20 km.
Given that only one SSGN on the Ohio platform is capable of releasing up to 154 SLCMs, the number of fighters required to repel the attack will exceed the capabilities of the Air Force of any of the countries against which the Yankees are going to fight.
The wreckage of the downed "Tomahawk" in the Belgrade Aviation Museum
In practice, the situation was as follows: during the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, the US Navy and the British Navy were fired at facilities in the territory of the FRY near 700 Tomahawks. Official Serbian sources cite numbers in 40 ... 45 shot down SLCM, NATO representatives do not agree and call even smaller numbers. In general, the situation is sad: the Serbian military hardly managed to shoot down 5% of the missiles fired at them.
It is noteworthy that one of the “Topors” was shot down by the Serbian MiG-21 - the pilot made eye contact with him, got close and shot the robot from an onboard gun.
Myth number XXUMX. "Tomahawks" are suitable only for the war with the Papuans.
The cost of the Tomahawk rocket, depending on its modification and the type of warhead, can reach 2 million dollars. To release 500 of such “stuff” means to ruin the US budget by 1 billion green banknotes.
Flight range 1200 ... 1600 km. Warhead 340 kg. Combined guidance system - relief TERCOM, DSMAC, satellite communications and navigation systems. Starting weight within one and a half tons. Carriers - destroyers and nuclear submarines.
No, gentlemen. Such a destructive and expensive weapon was not created to exterminate the unfortunate inhabitants of Papua New Guinea. Tomahawk should be used wisely; just scattering two millionth missiles across the desert is unheard of agility even for wealthy Yankees.
Launch of Tomahawk SLCM from the USS Mississippi nuclear cruiser (CGN-40), Operation Desert Storm, 1991 year. The rocket is launched from armored PU Mk.143 Armored Launch Box
It is not necessary to have seven genius in the forehead, that determine the purpose of cruise missiles - a deafening blow to the military and civil infrastructure of such an enemy who has some military potential: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yugoslavia ... Against those who are able to snap back and resist.
In these cases, the Yankees take out their “insurance policy” from the sleeve - a flock of flying killers that will “clear” the corridors in the country's air defense system, disorganize the enemy army and allow NATO aircraft to seize dominance in the air. The Tomahawk cruise missile is not subject to any treaties and conventions on arms limitation - which means you can not be shy and launch Axes left and right without any remorse of conscience.
As for the usual basmachs with rifles - their Yankees are smeared from 105 mm howitzers installed in the openings of the sides of the ganships АС-130. Missiles "Tomahawk" and other high-tech there is no use.
Myth number XXUMX. "Tomahawks" pose a danger to Russia
Russia, along with India and China - one of the few countries who can not pay attention to the US Navy and their saber-rattling. "Tomahawk" - a purely tactical weapon for local wars. With Russia, such a thing will not work - the Russian General Staff will not understand American jokes, and the case may end in a terrible thermonuclear fight.
Even in theory, in the presence of a ratified agreement with the United States on the mutual abandonment of the use of nuclear weapons, sea cruise missiles are ineffective against purely continental Russia - all industrial centers, arsenals and strategic facilities are located a thousand kilometers from the coast, at the limit of Tomahavkov flight range.
As for the possible equipment of the Topors with thermonuclear warheads, this threat would make sense only in the absence of intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the event of a war with the use of the Trident-2, a belated strike with cruise missiles (the flying time of the Tomahawks will be calculated in many hours) will no longer matter.
Thrifty Yankees perfectly understood the futility of the “Ax” as a carrier of nuclear weapons, so they sent all their nuclear SLCM to scrapping 20 years ago.
The number of nuclear charges in service with the US Armed Forces. The thick line is strategic warheads for ICBMs. The thin line is “tactical” nuclear weapons, incl. "Tomahawks" with SBCH
Launch of "Tomahawk" from the bow of the USS Farragut destroyer (DDG-99)