Weapon Systems

Tomahawk cruise missiles play key role in US self-defense strikes against Houthis


The United States and United Kingdom are leveraging the versatility and reliability of the Tomahawk to conduct strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen and protect Red Sea shipping.

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The guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely launches Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles in response to increased Iranian-backed Houthi malign behavior in the Red Sea January 12. [US Navy]
The guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely launches Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles in response to increased Iranian-backed Houthi malign behavior in the Red Sea January 12. [US Navy]

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is playing a major role in the United States' ongoing strikes against Houthi targets and its efforts to protect international shipping in the Red Sea.

The US military confirmed February 8 its forces conducted multiple strikes against Houthi missile systems as the Yemen-based, Iran-backed group prepared to launch attacks that threatened US Navy and merchant ships.

Beginning early February 8, Sanaa time, US Central Command (CENTCOM) forces "conducted seven self-defense strikes against four Houthi unmanned surface vessels (USV) and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea," CENTCOM said.

"CENTCOM identified these missiles and USVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region," it said.

The statement came after CENTCOM said that it had also conducted strikes late February 7.

The strikes "will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for US Navy and merchant vessels," it said.

The United States and United Kingdom had also launched strikes against 36 Houthi targets in Yemen on February 3.

The strikes hit buried weapon storage facilities, missile systems, launchers and other capabilities the Houthis have used to attack Red Sea shipping, the Pentagon said, adding that it targeted 13 locations across the country.

Pinpoint accuracy

In their initial retaliatory strikes on January 11, the United States and United Kingdom attacked 28 Houthi targets across Yemen using more than 100 precision-guided weapons, more than 80 of which were Tomahawk missiles, according to US defense officials cited by The Irish Times.

The long range, subsonic cruise missile has been a top choice by coalition forces to combat Houthi threats.

The Tomahawk family of missiles is primarily used by the US Navy and Royal Navy in ship- and submarine-based operations and can strike both enemy ships and land targets from up to 1,000 miles (1,609km) away and at speeds of up to 550 mph (885kmh).

Skimming the earth or sea at 30-plus meters above ground level, the Tomahawk is capable of traveling at extremely low altitudes to avoid radar detection.

The Tomahawk is the most reliable and cost-effective missile for its range, accuracy and warhead size.

The pinpoint accuracy is derived from multiple integrated systems that also enhance the Tomahawk's resiliency to jamming and interference.

The missile uses the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS), the motion sensor-based Inertial Navigation System (INS), and mapping and modeling of terrain through Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM), as well as active radar homing. The Tomahawk is equipped with its own radar transceiver, enabling it to find and track its target autonomously.

Further, at its size and range, the Tomahawk outperforms peer-class missiles through its distinctly large warhead.

Weighing in at 1,000 pounds (454kg), the Tomahawk's unitary warhead can be configured to eliminate soft targets like parked aircraft, vehicles and adversary forces as well as hard targets like bunkers, underground command posts and hardened aircraft shelters.

The Tomahawk distinguishes itself from other classes of cruise missiles as it can be reprogrammed mid-flight based on tactical Link 16 data.

Link 16 is a secure and jam-resistant tactical data link network used for critical communications by the United States, NATO allies and other partners. It enhances the Tomahawk's flexibility and accuracy by integrating the missile's advanced positional and navigation systems with critical, real-time information.

The Tomahawk is also equipped with an onboard camera that can both transmit real time data back to forces, as well as record strike and operations for post-mission analysis.

Growing demand

With a proven combat track record spanning over 40 years, the Tomahawk has earned its place as the preferred long-range cruise missile.

Each Tomahawk missile costs about $1.5 million, compared to long-range hypersonic missiles that can cost $40-50 million apiece.

The United States is estimated to have an inventory of about 4,000 Tomahawk missiles (as of 2022), and at current production levels, the Marines, Navy, Army and foreign partners are buying Tomahawks as quickly as they are produced.

US production capacity of Tomahawks is slated to increase to meet domestic and international demand.

Japan in January inked a deal for 400 Tomahawks. That was preceded by Australia's purchase of more than 200 in August 2023.

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America doesn't appeal to anyone in their right mind. It's a biased state that applies the international law and sanctions on all countries except for Israel. If a state presents a draft resolution to stop the massacres, it uses the veto. May Allah damn the Zionists and those who support them in killing children!


You're evil because you're sinful aggressors. Nobody has been spared your evil, but Allah will exact avenge against you soon.


A show of force and the result is zero. Your vessels are targeted and the port of Eilat is deserted.


The US air strikes are of an offensive, rather than defensive, nature. Such strikes would have been self-defence if Houthis had prevented all vessels from transiting the Red Sea. However, Houthis are only preventing vessels that are en route to the occupied port of Ashdod as a reaction to the Zionist attack on Gaza. In Gaza, innocent children, women, patients and young people are being killed. Yet, the US has used the veto against ceasefire resolutions in several occasions. The senile Joe Biden said that the decision was Netanyahu’s. Does the [Operation] Prosperity Guardian care about international commerce while nobody cares about the innocent people who are killed every minute and every second? Palestinians have been defending themselves for 75 years. When the West started to understand the Palestinian cause, Arabs forgot about it and normalized relations with the Zionist enemy. Now, the world’s governments are against the Palestinian resistance. It appears that Israel, or rather, Netanyahu, is governing the entire world! Allah suffices us and He is the best disposer of affairs against every traitor and oppressor!


May Allah deal with you! You're destroying the world, especially Muslims everywhere. Allah suffice us and He is the best disposer of affairs!