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Missiles on a Cruise.

Encouraged by America's successful use of cruise missiles on several occasions in the last decade, other major powers are either developing their own or increasing their spending on this weapon category. There is, meanwhile, a growing fear that rogue nations and terrorist groups may also develop and employ such devices.

One may wonder why the cruise missile did not develop quicker after the Second World War particularly with regard to the way the Fieseler Fi-103 or V-1 `flying bomb' of 1942 managed to terrorise populations, especially in Britain. The main reason is that the navigation systems of the time were too inaccurate and drifted rather badly given the long flight times of the German missile. Thus, in the early post-WW II period, the West instead concentrated on ballistic missiles, which offered immunity from interception and better inertially computed accuracy due to their shorter flight times (and indeed Hitler had started to field the rocket-powered V-2, thankfully only in the latter part of the war).

The Soviet Union, though, developed cruise missiles to deal with mobile US Navy targets.

The Styx affair of 1967 (in which the Israeli destroyer Elat was sunk by three missiles) sparked off Western developmental work on long-range anti-ship missiles. The main US Navy product was the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AGM/RGM/UGM-84A Harpoon, which entered service in 1979.

The US Air Force saw the cruise missile as a means to extend the usefulness of the B-52. This led to the nuclear-armed Boeing AGM-86B Alcm (Air-Launched Cruise Missile), of which the B-52 can carry eight internally and twelve externally. Operational capability was reached in late 1982. When the line was closed in 1986, a total of 1739 Alcms had been built. In the same year, Boeing began converting some AGM-86Bs into conventionally-armed AGM-86Cs and the type was redesignated Calcm.

The US Navy Tomahawk cruise missile is now a Raytheon programme, but it started life with Convair (General Dynamics). Production began in 1980 and initial operational capability was reached in 1986. The Tomahawk can be fired vertically or horizontally from surface vessels or submarines. There are four basic Tomahawk versions: the BGM-109A land-attack, nuclear (Tlam-N), the BGM-109B anti-ship missile (Tasm), the BGM-109C land-attack, conventional (Tlam-C) with unitary warhead, and the BGM-109D land-attack version with 166 submunitions (Tlam-D). The Tlam-N is no longer deployed at sea.

According to a statement made by a Republican Congressman in September 2000, the US Navy's Tomahawk inventory then stood at around 2200 rounds. Raytheon states that over 1000 have been fired since the Gulf War, including 238 during Operation Allied Force in 1999, although some of these were fired by the RN submarine Splendid. Britain had signed a $ 320 million contract in 1995 for 65 Tlam-C Block IIICs for use from Trafalgar and Swift-sure class submarines. In 1999, Britain requested 20 more Block IIICs, to be manufactured by Raytheon.

Storm Lessons

Operation Desert Storm was the first occasion on which modern technology land-attack cruise missiles were used in a real war. US Navy ships and submarines in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Mediterranean attempted to fire 297 Tlam-C/Ds, of which 288 were actually launched and 282 successfully transitioned to cruise flight. Of the six that failed to transition, five were unable to deploy wings, and the other's booster failed to separate. Some were equipped with Dispenser Kit 2 non-lethal payloads to disrupt power supplies.

In 35-hour, 12000 nm sorties direct from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, US Air Force B-52s carried 39 Calcms, of which 35 were successfully launched. Use of the Calcm was limited by the fact that it had a non-penetrating blast warhead and its average miss distance was twice that of a Tomahawk Tlam-C Block II.

It was impossible to accurately assess the en-route attrition of cruise missiles, although some losses are believed to have occurred due to anti-aircraft artillery, not Sams. It was likewise extremely difficult to estimate their single-shot kill probability, as many targets were hit by multiple missiles and in some cases also by manned aircraft strikes. It was nonetheless possible to draw some general conclusions about the relative advantages of cruise missiles and conventional aircraft.

Above all, cruise missiles are the weapon of choice if the target has very effective point- and area-defence systems. They eliminate the possibility of aircrew being killed, injured or captured, and they suffer low pre-target attrition, due to their small size and low level cruise. In an ideal case they can make use of terrain screening. The downside is their cost, which means that `ordinary' cruise missiles still have a bright future when range and local defences are not strong opposing factors

Such missiles also had the advantage of being able to attack by night or day, whereas the F-117A stealth aircraft was restricted to night operations. Tomahawks navigated by terrain-contour matching (Tercom) with digital scene-matching area correlation (Dsmac) in the terminal phase, while the Calcms used less accurate GPS/INS. Where it was important to avoid collateral damage, the Tomahawk appears to have been rated equal with aircraft-delivered precision guided missiles.

Cruise missiles could strike regardless of precipitation, cloud base and smoke screens. In comparison, 8.4 per cent of sorties by the `all-weather' F-111F were aborted due to bad weather making it impossible to use laser-guided bombs. The weather advantage enjoyed in 1991 by cruise missiles (especially Tomahawk) will clearly be eliminated when differential GPS-guidance is applied to shorter-range precision guided missiles, using signal corrections from in-theatre beacons.
Boeing Harpoon (Ship)

Dates(*) 1971/1975/1977
Number produced >6750 (Note 1)
Warhead type HE, blast-type
W/head weight [kg] 221.60
Head manufacturer U.S. Navy
Guidance Actived/GPS/INS
Length w/booster [m] 4.63
Length no booster [m] 3.85
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 0.914/0.463
Body width or dia. [mm] 343
Launch weight [kg] 682.70
Engine J402 turbojet
Thrust [kg] 299.40
Range lo-/hi-level [km] >124/-

Notes: 1. Numbers produced include AGM-84
Air Launch Missiles. 2. Block II incorporates
low-cost Inertial Measuring Unit (IMU) from
Jdam and integrated GPS/INS from Slam ER.

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

Attacks with cruise missile are relatively easy to launch, whereas tactical aircraft require the presence of a carrier battle group (CVBG) or an airbase. The use of aircraft may also require diplomatic permission to bomb from that airbase or for overflights (France and Spain, for example, had refused overflights to Britain-based American aircraft in the 1986 strikes on Libya). It may be noted that all the weapons used during the 16 February 2001 strikes on Iraqi air defence facilities were released from aircraft operating from Kuwait.

Cruise missiles can be launched from a submarine or by an aircraft operating from a base such as Diego Garcia. The US Navy currently has only twelve deployable carriers, but 137 vessels capable of launching Tomahawks. Cruise missiles are consequently well suited to fast-reaction surprise attacks, and their attraction will increase as more US overseas bases are closed.

Attack aircraft need support in the form of tankers, jammers, defence-suppression aircraft, fighter escorts and Awacs. The highly effective 1993 Tomahawk strike against an Iraqi nuclear facility was carried out with 42 missiles launched from four ships, but the alternative involved a package of around 40 carrier-based aircraft.

Cruise Disadvantages

One of the drawbacks to the use of the Tlam-C Block II in 1991 was that its Tercom/Dsmac guidance system required up to 80 hours of planning, assuming that the necessary terrain data and imagery were available. To put this figure in perspective, planning for a multi-aircraft carrier-based strike takes around 24 hours. There were also cruise missile planning problems arising from unsuitable terrain (often too flat or too mountainous) and the need to fly around known defences. The need to find target approaches that suited the navigation system led to streams of Tomahawks using the same routes, which increased losses.

Responding to criticism of lengthy planning, in April 1993 the first Block III Tomahawks were delivered with GPS receivers, allowing them to approach the target from any direction, and requiring only one terminal Dsmac scene for accuracy. Interestingly, the average miss distance using GPS alone is three times that with Dsmac, but this problem could be eliminated with differential GPS.

The Block III has a warhead that is reduced from around 450 kg to 320 kg, but has a stronger case, giving double the penetration of the Block II. It also has a programmable-delay fuze, while increased fuel capacity and an improved engine extend range. Time-of-arrival software allows a target to be attacked simultaneously from different directions. Whereas Tomahawk mission planning for the Gulf War was done in the US, the Navy has now introduced an Afloat Planning System (APS), giving a time reduction of up to 90 per cent.

After mission planning time, the other major disadvantage of cruise missiles in Desert Storm was that they were unsuitable for attacking moving targets such as tanks, relocatable targets such as missile transporter/erector/launchers, or targets of opportunity. In addition, the range of a cruise missile is limited in the sense that it cannot be refuelled in flight. However, the Tomahawk has a very useful nominal range of 1600 km. In comparison with a manned aircraft, the cruise missile is clearly at a disadvantage in warload, and cannot currently match the target penetration of a bomb dropped from altitude.
Raytheon Tomahawk
Block I/II

Dates(*) 1972/1983/1986
Guidance Inertial/terrain
Length w/booster [m] 6.25
Length no booster [m] 5.56
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 2.67/-
Body width or dia. [mm] 533
Launch weight [kg] 1451.20

Notes: RGM-109C: Surface Land Attack, Conventional,
RGM-109D: Surface Land Attack-Submunitions,
UGM-109C: Submarine Land
Attack-Conventional; UGM-109D: Submarine
Land Attack-Submunitions Range: 700 statue
miles Engine Designation: Block IIs originally
built with F107-WR-400 engines: engines upgraded
to F107-WR-402

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

Costing It Out

If a target can be attacked by a manned aircraft without significant risk, then this is almost certainly more cost-effective than using a sophisticated cruise missile. A one-tonne LGB costs around $ 60000, whereas a new-build Tomahawk costs perhaps $1.4 million.

Conversely, in peacetime a cruise missile just sits in its packing case, whereas a manned aircraft is flown, serviced and maintained at considerable cost. Viewed as a slice of the defence budget, a $ 40 million fighter may cost as much as $ 40 000 per flight hour. Each active pilot needs more than 200 flight hours per year, and there is more than one pilot per aircraft. A carrier battle group (CVBG) costs approximately $ 1.5 billion per year to operate.

The Pentagon appears to have concluded that cruise missiles now form an important complement to manned aircraft, rather than a replacement for them. Not unlike stealth aircraft, they are undoubtedly useful in the first stage of a conflict, primarily in destroying the enemy's air defence system. However, once that system has been eliminated, it is far more economical to perform attacks with conventional aircraft.

For nations unable to guarantee the suppression of enemy air defences in future conflicts, cruise missiles may have to play a more sustained role.

In comparison to ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are less expensive and more accurate, due to their terminal guidance systems. They are also a better means to distribute chemical or biological agents over an area target. Cruise missiles can, in principle, loiter in the target area, and their mission can be aborted. On the other hand, they are much easier to intercept than a ballistic missile.
Raytheon Tomahawk
Block III

Dates(*) -/1993/1994
Guidance GPS, inertial,
 terrain match
Length w/booster [m] 6.25
Length no booster [m] 5.56
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 2.67/-
Body width or dia. [mm] 533
Launch weight [kg] 1587.30
Engine F107-WR-402

Notes: RGM-109C: Surface Land Attack,
Conventional, Payloads: 1000lb blast/frag;
RGM-109D: Surface Land Attack- Submunitions,
Dispenser with CEBs; UGM-109C: Submarine
Land Attack-Conventional; UGM-109D:
Submarine Land Attack-Submunitions,
Range: 1000 statue miles

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

For example, the maximum speed for a Tomahawk is a modest 880 km/h.

Raytheon Tomahawk

As outlined earlier, the Tomahawks used in the Gulf War were Block II Tlam-Cs and -Ds. Their shortcomings led in 1993 to deliveries of the improved Block III, which attained initial operational capability in 1994. The US Navy also introduced an improved booster rocket for the submarine version, which can now be launched with the full fuel load of the ship-based model, and thus achieve the same range.

Later procurement of the Tlam-C/D Block IIIC/D took place through the upgrading and conversion by Raytheon of a total of 624 earlier production missiles under a $ 414 million contract awarded in 1999. The last is due to be delivered by mid-2002. Some 200 of the US Navy's 500 remaining Tasms were to be converted at a unit cost of around $1.3 million. Meanwhile, 100 of the remaining 700 Tlam-C Block IIs were to be upgraded to IIIC standard at a unit cost of $ 0.375 million and a further 324 to IIID standard with BLU-97/B combined effect bomblets, at a unit cost of $ 0.4 million.
Boeing Harpoon (Air)

Dates(*) 1971/1975/1977
Numbers produced >6750 (Note 1)
Warhead type HE, blast-type
W/head weight [kg] 221.60
Head manufacturer US Navy
Guidance Active, GPS,
Length no booster [m] 3.85
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 0.914/-
Body width or dia. [mm] 343
Launch weight [kg] 519.50
Engine J402 turbojet
Thrust [kg] 299.40
Range lo-/hi-level [km] >124/-

Notes: 1. Includes RGM-84 Ship Launch and
UGM-84 Sub Launch Missiles 2. Block II incorporates
low cost Inertial Measuring Unit from
Jdam and integrated GPS/INS from Slam-ER.

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

The succeeding Block IV was initially referred to as the Tomahawk Baseline Improvement Program, and is now designated Tactical Tomahawk.

This new development is an advanced, more affordable version. Target identification, damage assessment and in-flight retargeting are made possible by an imaging-infrared seeker and data-links to aircraft and satellites. The ability to loiter for two-hours over the target has also been introduced.

Affordability is to benefit from a Williams turbojet derived from the F122 engine of the German/Swedish Taurus missile. In addition, TBO (time-between-overhauls) is to be increased from five or six years (depending on production model) to fifteen years, significantly reducing life-cycle cost.

Since the Tactical Tomahawk can deal with a wider range of targets, including ships, it is estimated to reduce the number of missiles that need to be deployed by 40 per cent. Thanks to the seeker, accuracy is 60 per cent better than for the Block II/III, and its mission planning time is up to 50 per cent shorter than for Block III. On the downside, the Tactical Tomahawk was designed for use only from a vertical launch system (VLS), hence additional development will be necessary if the USN and/or the RN decide to use it from a torpedo tube launch (TTL) system.

In 1998, Raytheon was awarded a $ 256 million development contract for the Tactical Tomahawk. It included firm pricing for the production of 1343 missiles over a five-year period for almost $ 800 million. The development phase is to be completed in 2002 and series production is to begin in 2003.

The US Navy is considering providing some or all land-attack Tomahawks with a Precision Terrain-Aided Navigator (Ptan), which could be available from FY 2005. Effectively an upgraded Tercom, Ptan is based on 3-D mapping produced by synthetic aperture radar imaging from Nasa's Shuttle. The aim is to achieve precise all-weather navigation that is independent of GPS.
Boeing Calcm

Dates(*) 1986/1986/1986
Numbers produced 322
Warhead type Unitary(**)/blast
W/head weight [kg] 1360.50
Head manufacturer Aerojet
Guidance GPS, inertial
Length no booster [m] 6.29
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 3.64/-
Body width or dia. [mm] 62.23
Launch weight [kg] 1473.80
Engine F-107-WR-101
Thrust [kg] 600

(*) Development/Production/Entrv into service
(**) AGM-86D, 50 to enter service in 2001


As mentioned earlier, in 1986 Boeing was awarded a contract to convert a limited number of nuclear-tipped AGM-86B Alcms into AGM-86C Calcms with blast-fragmentation warheads. Both models have Litton inertial navigation systems, but the AGM-86B has a Tercom system for navigation updates, whereas in the AGM-86C this equipment is replaced by a GPS receiver.

The conventional warhead is heavier than the nuclear device. It weighs approximately 900 kg in the case of the AGM-86C Block 0 and 1350 kg in the case of the Block I, of which 200 were produced in 1996-97. Fuel load and range are consequently decreased. The US Air Force fact sheet gives a nominal range of 1500+ nm (2400+ km) for the AGM-86B and only 600 nm (1100 km) for the AGM-86C. The AGM-86B had a unit cost of $ 1 million, and conversion cost is $ 0.13 million. The current US Air Force inventory is given as 1142 AGM-86Bs and 239 AGM-86Cs, consisting of 41 Block 0s and 198 Block Is.
Boeing Alcm

Dates(*) 1974/1980/1982
Numbers produced 1739
Warhead type Nuclear
Guidance Inertial, terrain
Length no booster [m] 6.29
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 3.64/-
Body width or dia. [mm] 62.23
Launch weight [kg] 1417.50
Engine F-107-WR-10
Thrust [kg] 270
Range lo-/hi-level [km] 1500-plus miles

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

The last Block 0 delivery took place in mid-1993, at which stage 105 missiles had been converted. In 1995, Boeing was awarded a contract to convert a further 100 missiles (Lot 1 of Block I), and a further contract for 100 more (Lot 2) was awarded in 1996. All 200 Block Is had been delivered by the end of 1997.

At the end of 1996 a precision onboard GPS optimisation (pogo) system was demonstrated, giving a 2.5-metre delivery accuracy after a 4.5-hour flight. In 1998, Boeing received a contract to retrofit all Block 0/I missiles to this Block IA standard, with a third-generation anti-jam GPS receiver and advanced software. The first delivery took place in January 2001, and by mid-year 163 missiles are scheduled for completion.

In 1999, Boeing received two contracts for kits to convert 322 more Alcms to Calcms (95 of which were to replace missiles expended in Operation Desert Fox in 1998). The first 140 were delivered to Block I standard, to be followed by 132 to Block IA standard. The final 50 missiles are being built to AGM-86D Block II standard with the 550 kg Lockheed Martin Advanced Unitary Penetrator (AUP-3) kinetic warhead. It is planned to have 85 missiles converted to Block II standard by mid-2002 and 110 more by 2003. (It is to be noted that the Alcm/Calcm figures provided by the Air Force and Boeing do not tally. This is probably due to vagueness as to whether test vehicles were included or not and the numbers of Alcm actually removed from inventory vs. numbers earmarked for conversion).

Only the US Air Force B-52H and B-1B are cleared to use the Alcm/Calcm series. For nuclear strikes the Alcm would be supplemented by the stealthy Raytheon AGM-129A Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM), which carries a 200 kT W-80-1 warhead.

Beyond the Block II Calcm, Boeing has proposed a longer-range version to meet a US Air Force requirement for an Extended Range Cruise Missile (ERCM).

The ERCM is viewed as an interim weapon, to keep the B-52H viable until the more advanced Long Range Cruise Missile (LRCM) becomes available around 2010. The US Air Force is believed to want an ERCM that can strike at most targets from launch points over international waters. Funding is expected to begin in FY 2002, with the first of a planned 618 delivered in 2005. Reports indicate that Boeing's proposal will be competing with developments of the Raytheon AGM-129A ACM and the Lockheed Martin AGM-158 Jassm (Joint Air-Surface Standoff Missile).


The AGM/RGM/UGM-84A Harpoon anti-ship missile, which is now a Boeing programme, was first used operationally in 1986 to sink a Libyan patrol boat. The Harpoon has now been sold to 25 countries. The basic version employs active radar homing, but the US Navy's interest in littoral warfare led to development of the AGM-84E Slam (Standoff Land Attack Missile). This has INS/GPS mid-course navigation, and terminal control based on a TV camera in the nose and a data-link providing man-in-the-loop guidance for the final 60 seconds of flight. The AGM-84E was successfully fired from the A-6E and F/A-18 against Iraqi targets during Desert Storm, prior to formal service clearance. A total of 700 Slams were purchased by the US Navy.
Boeing Slam-ER

Boeing Slam-ER
Dates(*) 1995/1997/1998
Numbers produced >214
Warhead type Titanium
W/head weight [kg] 212
Head manufact. US Navy
Guidance IIR, inertial,
 GPS, terrain
Length no booster [m] 4.369
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 2.181/0.533
Body width or dia. [mm] 343
Launch weight [kg] 674.40
Engine J402 Turbojet
Thrust [kg] >299.40
Range lo-/hi-level [km] -/> 277.80

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

The need for longer ranges next led to the AGM-84H Slam-ER (Expanded Response) with an imaging-infrared seeker, an improved warhead for better penetration, a stretched body and foldout wings for better lift/drag ratio and manoeuvrability. Range is more than 280 km. The missile uses adaptive terrain-following, based on GPS position and digitally-stored terrain elevation data. The new warhead is a 227 kg titanium-cased WDU-40/B penetrator, with a PBXC-129 filling and a Raymond FMU-155/B variable-delay fuze.

The new seeker of Slam-ER allows day/night operation, and provides some capability against targets of opportunity. A key feature is known as stop-motion aimpoint-update, with which the controlling pilot can freeze the video image of the target area, then designate a precise aimpoint, even if it has no distinguishing infrared signature.
Boeing Slam

Dates(*) 1986/1988/1990
Numbers produced 737
Warhead type HE, blast-type
W/head weight [kg] 221.60
Head manufacturer U.S. Navy
Guidance IIR, GPS,
Length no booster [m] 4.45
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 0.914/-
Body width or dia. [mm] 343
Launch weight [kg] 614.40
Engine J402 Turbojet
Thrust [kg] 299.40
Range lo-/hi-level [km] >111/-

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

The EMD contract for Slam-ER was awarded to Boeing in March 1995, the first flight took place in March 1997 and operational evaluation was completed in March 2000. The US Navy has ordered 157 new-build Slam-ERs, and it is planned that Boeing will upgrade all remaining Slams (around 600) to Slam-ER standard at an annual rate of 56 units. The company is so far contracted to produce 346 of these missiles. Unit cost for the Slam-ER is given by the US Navy as $ 0.5 million. Future plans centre on the development of an automatic target acquisition facility for the Slam-ER+.
Lockheed Martin Jassm

Dates(*) 1996/2002/n. a.
Numbers produced Development
Warhead type Unitary
W/head weight [kg] 454
Head manufacturer HiTech
Guidance IIR, GPS
Length no booster [m] 4.27
Wingspan depl/fold [m] Not Cleared
Body width or dia. [mm] Not Cleared
Launch weight [kg] 1021
Engine Turbojet
Thrust Not Cleared

Notes: Jassm is an autonomous, long-range,
conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff
missile. Jassm is designed to destroy high-value,
well-defended, fixed and relocateable targets.
Jassm's significant standoff range keeps aircrews
well out of danger from hostile air
defence systems. The missile's mission effectiveness
approaches only a single missile
required to kill each target.

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service


The Lockheed Martin AGM-158 Jassm (Joint Air-Surface Standoff Missile) was intended to meet the needs of both the US Air Force and the Navy, but the latter service has shown little interest, having Slam-ER. For the US Air Force, this is a vitally important programme, as it will enable cruise missile strikes to be made from a tactical aircraft such as the F-16 Block 50. In addition, at a unit price of $ 0.4 million, Jassm will allow many targets to be hit more economically than with the longer range Calcm.

The AGM-158A is a stealthy swing-wing missile with a 454-kg J-1000 penetration warhead, a Honeywell INS, a Raytheon anti-jam GPS receiver and a Lockheed Martin imaging-infrared seeker. Other features include a selectable impact angle and an automatic target correlator algorithm to minimise terminal error. It is planned that in the final eight seconds prior to impact, data on missile position and status will be transmitted to either an RC-135 or a satellite.

The AGM-158B will have a submunition dispenser in place of the unitary warhead. Lockheed Martin's entry for the US Air Force ERCM contest is thought to be a stretched Jassm with a lighter warhead.

The first powered Jassm flight took place in November 1999, when the missile covered a distance of more than 330 km. Following an initial problem with a failed wing-opening actuator, the EMD phase was extended by 10 months. The first of eight contractor development test and evaluation (CDT&E) launches took place on January 21, and met all objectives.

Assuming that testing continues satisfactorily, low-rate initial production will begin in FY 2002.

The Jassm will be used primarily from the B-52H and F-16C/D, but it is also suitable for launch from the B-1B, B-2A and F/A-18 series. The US Air Force is expected to buy at least 3700 rounds. The US Navy currently has no plans to buy the Jassm, but it will be considered for future use from both the F/A-18E/F and Joint Strike Fighter. Australia has expressed interest in buying the Jassm for use from the F/A18A/B and P-3C.
MBDA Apache

Dates(*) 1989/2000/2001
Numbers produced 15
Warhead type 10 Kriss
Head manufacturer MBD/TDA
Guidance Active, GPS,
 laser gyro,
 terrain match
Length no booster [m] 5.10
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 3/-
Launch weight [kg] 1230
Engine TRI 60-30
Range lo-/hi-level [km] 140/-

Notes: Apache is integrated to Mirage 2000D
for the French Air Force.

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

Before leaving the subject of US cruise missiles, it may be noted that last year Northrop Grumman revealed preliminary details of a ground-launched turbojet-powered Low Cost Interceptor (LCI) project. Derived from the US Air Force Maid (Miniature Air-Launched Decoy), the LCI would provide in-depth defence against low flying objects. Using target data transmitted by data-link from Awacs or US Army radars, it would cruise supersonically for over 250 km and intercept the missile or UAV by means of an imaging-infrared seeker. The LCI could be operational by 2005.
MBDA Storm Shadow

Dates(*) 1997/2001/2002
Warhead type Broach
W/head weight [kg] classified
Head manufacturer Royal Ordn.
Guidance IIR, GPS,
 laser gyro
Other guidance Altimetric
Length no booster [m] 5.10
Wingspan depl/fol [m] 3/-
Launch weight [kg] 1300
Engine TRI 60-30
Range lo-/hi-level [km] 250/-

Notes: Scalp EG is under integration to French
Mirage2000D and Rafale F2 and Greek 2000-5
Mk 2. The Storm Shadow is under integration to
Tornado GR4/IDS, Harrier GR7 and Euro-fighter for RAF and Italy.

(*)Development/Production/Entry into service

European Developments

Western Europe has traditionally been concerned with two types of targets: airfields and multiple armoured vehicles. This led to interest being concentrated on standoff attacks with submunition dispensers. In the 1980s, this produced a wide range of `swing-wing tea-chest' projects. Heavy development costs then led to rationalisation. In the last decade more emphasis was placed on stealth and US experience in the Gulf War showed the value of unitary warheads that could penetrate hardened aircraft shelters and command bunkers.


Europe's first conventionally-armed cruise missile is the Matra BAe Dynamics (MBDA since 26 April 2001) Apache runway-attack weapon, deliveries of which start this year. Development began in 1989; in 1997 the French Ministry of Defence placed the first order for around 100 missiles. These will be used initially on the Mirage 2000D, but may be used later on the Rafale. The Black Pearl is an export version of Apache, used on Qatar's Mirage 2000-5s (although, according to an MBDA spokesman, the programme is now dead).

Reduced radar and infrared signatures were almost obsessional features during the design phase of the Apache while attrition also benefits from a very low terrain-following flight, assisted by a radio altimeter and a Thales Promethee forward-looking radar. Mid-course navigation is based on combined INS/GPS inputs. In the terminal phase the radar is used to create a ground map that shows the target runway. The Apache's ten TDA Kriss submunitions are then ejected to destroy the surface.

Storm Shadow -- Scalp EG

The MBDA Storm Shadow or Scalp EG is a derivative of the Apache, in which the submunitions are replaced by a BAE Systems Broach multi-charge penetration warhead. It is marginally heavier than its forebear and its range is increased from a nominal 140 km to more than 250 km (they look very similar, but in fact their internal centre-section structures are quite different). Navigation is based on a combination of GPS and Terprom (TERrain PROfile Matching). Terminal homing employs an imaging-infrared seeker, the cover of which is jettisoned as the missile performs a bunt manoeuvre just short of the target.
MBDA Black Shaheen

Dates(*) 1998/-/2004
Warhead type Unitary
W/head weight [kg] classified
Head manufacturer classified
Other guidance classified
Length no booster [m] 5.10
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 3/-
Launch weight [kg] classified
Engine TRI 60-30
Range lo-/hi-level [km] classified

Notes: Under integration to Mirage 2000-9
for the UAE Air Force.

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

Development is being funded jointly by Britain and France. The first fully guided firing took place at the end of 2000. Britain plans to use the Storm Shadow on the Tornado GR4, Harrier GR7 and Eurofighter Typhoon, while France is to use the Scalp EG from the Mirage 2000D and 2000-5 as well as from the Air Force and Navy Rafale F2. The Black Shaheen, for its part, is the United Arab Emirates export designation for the Scalp EG, for use from their Mirage 2000-9. In 1999 Italy ordered the Storm Shadow for its Tornado and Eurofighter aircraft, and in 2000 Greece ordered the Scalp EG for its Mirage 2000-5 Mk 2s.

In the context of the Broach, BAE Systems recently announced that it had received an $11.7 million contract for the integration of this unitary warhead into the US Navy's Joint Sow-C. Potentially, some 3000 Broach warheads could be procured for this Raytheon-designed stand-off weapon for which, incidentally, a future `growth option' could see it fitted with a turbine engine rear section.

Scalp Naval

Late last year it was reported that France, having failed to acquire the Tomahawk, had decided to go ahead with the development of a longer range, maritime version of Scalp for the land attack mission. Designated Scalp Naval, it will equip France's next generation of frigates and the Barracuda class of nuclear-powered attack submarines.
Aerospatiale Matra
Missiles ASMP-A

Dates(*) 2000/-/~2005(**)
Numbers produced Not in prod.
Warhead type Nuclear
Head manufacturer CEA
Guidance(**) IIR, GPS,
 Laser gyro
Engine Integrated
 rocket ramjet

(**) French classified programme, estimated data

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service


Aerospatiale Matra Missiles is prime contractor for the new supersonic, nuclear-armed ASMP-A (Air-Sol Moyenne Portee -- Ame1ioree), which will replace the current ASMP. It will be used initially (from 2008) by the French Air Force Mirage 2000N and later by the Navy's Rafale F3. It is propelled by a new-generation liquid-propellant ramjet, based on the powerplant developed by Aerospatiale (not merged with Matra at the time) and SNPE as part of the Vesta programme which could have led to a conventionally armed version of the ASMP, Asmp-C (or Asura), had the French government not opted for the Scalp. Being a conventional weapon, the Asmp-C was no longer wrapped under the cloak of secrecy and ironically, physical data became officially available.

The ASMP-A will be able to cruise at Mach 3 at altitude and faster than Mach 2 at low level. Again, range is classified, but the Asmp-C was announced with a range of over 400 km with its improved ramjet engine. The first of five planned contracts was recently awarded, covering half of the development phase. The first test firing is scheduled for 2004.

Taurus Kepd 350

Although the MBD Storm Shadow was awarded the British contract for an air launched cruise missile, there were claims that the technical winner had been the KEPD 350 Taurus. The prime contractor for this weapon is Taurus Systems, a German-registered company jointly owned by Eads (Germany) and Saab Bofors Dynamics of Sweden and divided on a 67 to 33 per cent basis.
Aerospatiale Matra
Missiles ASMP

Dates(*) 1978/1985(**)/'86
Numbers produced ~901
Warhead type Nuclear TN80/
W/head weight [kt] 150/300
Head manufacturer CEA
Guidance Inertial
Other guidance Classified
Length no booster [m] 5.4221
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 0.960/-
Body width or dia. [mm] 3501
Launch weight [kg] ~8401
Engine Integrated
 rocket ramjet
Range lo-/hi-level [km] ~1001/~2501

(**) French classified programme. Figures are
well-founded estimates.

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

Development of the KEPD 350 is due for completion in 2002. The initial batch of 28 rounds was augmented in 2000 by an order for a service trials batch. Navigation employs an INS/GPS mix, with Tercom for waypoint checks and imaging-infrared for terminal guidance. It is anticipated that a production order for the German Air Force will be placed this year. Spain and Australia are claimed to also be interested in acquiring the system.

The KEPD 350 being developed for the German Air Force has a TDW Mephisto tandem warhead. It may be seen as the baseline for a family of cruise missiles, including the somewhat lighter and shorter range KEPD 350P for point targets that do not require Mephisto, and the KEPD 350A dispenser version for area targets. Proposed submunitions include the Musjas 1/2 for embarkation areas, the Stabo for runway attacks and the Smart for use against air defence sites. This last type is based on the sensor-fuzed warheads of the Rheinmetall/Diehl SMArt-155 artillery shell.
Taurus Systems
KEPD 350

Dates(*) 1997/-/2002
Warhead type Mephisto
W/head weight [kg] 500
Head manufacturer RTG
Guidance IIR, GPS, laser
 fibre gyro,
 terrain match
Length no booster [m] 5
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 2.10/0.90
Body width or dia. [mm] 800
Launch weight [kg] 1400
Engine T8300-15
Thrust [lbs(f)] 1500
Range lo-/hi-level [km] > 350/-

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

The Kepd stable also comprises a smaller gliding missile, the 150, for precision strikes against high-value targets at up to 150 km range. It was first flown on a Swedish Air Force JAS39 in 1998. The KEPD 150-SLM is a ship-launched variant with rocket booster.


Surprisingly, the Kongsberg NSM programme has been given very little publicity, yet this missile has been in full-scale development since 1996 and is slated for entry into service in 2004. Although not a full-fledged cruise missile, but rather a medium-range anti-ship missile, it makes no doubt that physically, a very strong emphasis was put on stealth. The design is also remarkably light, tipping the scales at around 400 kg (whilst its competing, but unfunded, RBS 15 Mk 3 weighs twice as much). It carries a TDW blast fragmentation warhead the power of which is said to be equivalent to 124 kg of trinitrotoluene. Guidance, developed by Kongsberg, is provided by an infrared seeker combined with satellite and inertial navigation. The NSM's propulsion (turbine plus booster) has been recently tested at Saclay in France and the actual missile has entered the flight testing phase.

South Africa

Illustrating the fact that cruise missiles are no longer the preserve of the major powers, in 1999 Denel's Kentron division exhibited at Dubai its Torgos, a precision attack weapon demonstrator with a 300 km range and autonomous target recognition, based on the Kentron Kenis imaging-infrared camera.


Following America's refusal to sell the Raytheon Tomahawk to Israel, the latter country is developing its own cruise missiles. In a very light category, Israel Military Industries (IMI) is working with Lockheed Martin on the Light Defender or Star-1, described as a jet-powered derivative of the Delilah decoy, with a range of 400 km. It may be recalled that Rafael had earlier proposed a swing-wing turbofan-powered derivative of the rocket-powered AGM-142 Have Nap or Popeye. This project may well be revived.
Kongsberg Defence
and Aerospace NSM

Dates(*) 1996/-/2005
Warhead type HE Blast/
W/head weight [kg] 120
Head manufacturer EADS/TDW
Guidance IIR, GPS,
 inertial, terrain
Length w/booster [m] 4.00
Length no booster [m] 3.50
Wingspan depl/fold [m] 1.40/0.70
Launch weight [kg] 400
Engine TRI-40
Thrust [daN] 250 - 340
Range lo-/hi-level [km] > 160/-

Notes: Passive Low RCS

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service


So many cruise missiles were developed by the Soviet Union that it is possible only a few of the principal types are now available. For example, Russia's equivalent of the Alcm is the Raduga Kh-55SM (AS-15), which can evidently be given increased fuel to extend its range from 2500 to 3000 km. The Tu-95 can carry six of these weapons on a rotary launcher in the weapon bay, and up to ten more on four underwing pylons. The Tu-160 can carry twelve on two rotary launchers. Derivatives of the Kh-55SM include the Kh-555 with a conventional warhead, and the stealthy Kh-101, which is reported to have a 400 kg conventional warhead and a range of 5000 km.

Dates(*) 1990s/-/late 90s
Warhead type Blast +
W/head weight [kg] 200
Guidance Active, laser
Launch weight [kg] 300
Range lo-/hi-level [km] 120/300

(*) Development/Production/Entry into service

The Russian equivalent of the Harpoon is the Zvezda-Strela Kh-35 (SSN-25), which can be launched from fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, ships and coastal batteries. The Novator 3M54E (SS-N-27) is an anti-ship missile with a range of 220 km, a subsonic cruise and a Mach 3 terminal phase. It is suitable for launching from both ships (as in the case of the Chinese Navy Sovremenny class destroyers) and submarines (exemplified by the Indian Navy Kilo class).

An all-supersonic cruise leads, in the case of the ramjet-powered Raduga 3M80 (SS-N-22), to a very heavy missile with a relatively short range. Despite its advanced performance, the 3M80 is believed to have entered service in 1980. In 1992, a mock-up of an air-launched version named Moskit was shown under an Su-27K in a static display. A somewhat lighter ramjet missile is the Maschinostroyenia 3M55 Yakhont, which weighs 2500 kg in air-launched form, and provides a range of up to 300 km at speeds up to Mach 2.5.


A number of coastal defence, air-to-ship and ship-to-ship guided weapons have been developed by China, but few have sufficient range to be considered cruise missiles. However, the China National Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation is known to have sold to Iran the 120 km C802, and CPMIEC's marketing range includes the 180 km, Mach 2 C301.

There have recently been reports of a YJ-63 land attack cruise missile, based on the YJ-6/C601 but with a TV seeker. It will presumably be launched from the H-6 (Tu-16). There are also accounts of Chinese attempts to equal the success of the Kh-55, Alcm and Tomahawk series, initially with ground-launched examples of the Hong Niao family. The HN-2 is believed to be a 1500 km missile that entered service in 1996, preceding the 2500 km HN-3, which is still in development.

In Short

* "Cruise missiles are the weapon of choice against heavily defended point targets, especially in bad weather"

* "Manned aircraft are more cost-effective than cruise missiles, once air defences are suppressed"

* "Precision attacks are now possible with differential GPS, automatic scene-matching and/or a seeker"

* "There is considerable interest in developing a means of target damage assessment."
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Article Details
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Author:Braybrook, Roy
Publication:Armada International
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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