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President Bush(Sr) to Trump: Operational history of Tomahawk missiles

Footage captured on a mobile phone shows US air strikes hitting a Syrian airbase near Homs Photograph: (Reuters)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 07, 2017, 04.23 AM (IST)

US President ordered Tomahawk missile strikes against Syria today leading to at least 59 missiles being fired. The Tomahawks are long-range cruise missiles with a range of about 800 miles (1,250 kilometres) to 1500 miles (2,500 kilometres).

It is fired from the sea and travels low on the ground, guided by an advanced navigation system. It takes a circumnavigation route, and not just a straight route, to avoid being shot down. 

Tomahawks were first used by the US during Gulf War-I in 1990. The Tomahawk can be equipped with a 1,000-pound conventional warhead.

One unit costs about $569,000 in 1999 dollars - equivalent to about $832,000 today.

  • During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, 288 Tomahawks missiles were fired by George H.W Bush(Sr) in the first combat - 12 from submarines and 276 from surface ships. 


  • On 17 January 1993, 46 Tomahawks were launched by the President George HW Bush at the Zafraniyah Nuclear Fabrication Facility outside Iraq's capital, in response to Iraq's refusal to cooperate with UN disarmament inspectors. Two civilians were killed because of the missile that crashed into the side of the al-Rasheed Hotel, killing two civilians.


  • On 26 June 1993, 23 Tomahawk  missiles were fired by US president Bill Clinton at Iraqi Intelligence Service's control center.


  • On 10 September 1995, 13 Tomahawk missiles were launched by the USS Normandy against a key air defense radio relay tower in Bosnian Serb territory during Operation Deliberate Force under the presidency of Bill Clinton.


  • On 3 September 1996, 44 Tomahawk missiles were fired again under Clinton's presidency at air defense targets in southern Iraq.


  • On 20 August 1998, America launched Operation Infinite Reach and fired 79 Tomahawk missiles at two separate targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for the bombings on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaida.


  • On 16 December 1998, 415 Tomahawk missiles were fired at key Iraqi targets during Operation Desert Fox.


  • In 1999, Clinton sanctioned the firing of 218 Tomahawk missiles from US ships during Operation Allied Force which struck Serbia and Montenegro.


  • In October 2001, around 50 Tomahawk missiles were fired on Afghanistan in the opening hours of Operation Enduring Freedom by President George W Bush(Jr).


  • In 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, US fired more than 802 Tomahawk missiles at Iraqi targets under the presidency of George W Bush.


  • In the March of 2008, under the presidency of Bush, two Tomahawks were fired at Somalia by a US vessel during the Dobley airstrike, reportedly in an alleged attempt to kill al-Qaida militant Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.


  • On 17 December 2009, under President Barack Obama, two Tomahawks were fired at targets in Yemen. The target was described as an 'alleged al-Qaida training camp' in Yemen. International reports claimed that 55 people were killed in the attack, including 41 civilians. The US and Yemen governments refused to confirm or deny any involvement, but diplomatic cables released as part of United States diplomatic cables leak later confirmed the missile was fired by a US Navy ship.


  • On 19 March 2011, 124 Tomahawk missiles were fired by US and British forces on around 20 targets in Libya, during Obama’s presidency.


  • On 23 September 2014, 47 Tomahawk missiles were fired by the Obama administration against ISI targets in Syria in the vicinity of Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, Al-Hasakah and Abu Kamal, and against Khorasan group targets in Syria west of Aleppo.


  • On 13 October 2016, five Tomahawk missiles were launched by Obama through USS Nitze at three radar sites in Yemen known to be held by Houthi rebels. The attack was in response to anti-ship missiles fired at US Navy ships the day before.



US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airfield from which a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched (WION)



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