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A (visual) history of the Tomahawk missile

When President Trump agreed to a retaliatory strike against the Assad regime and Russia for the alleged bombing of civilians with chemical weapons earlier in the week, he gave the order to launch 59 Tomahawks Group IV on an air base in Syria.

The Tomahawk hasn't been used much recently. Armed drones fitted with smaller, more precise bombs, are usually the weapon of choice when it comes to avoiding at all cost the downing of a jet fighter or bomber pilot.

The last time one of these cruise missiles roared over Syria, it was during the opening weeks of the war against so-called Islamic State - although IS wasn't the target.

The Navy fired its missiles on the Khorasan Group, a local Al Qaeda offshoot that has since re-branded and became hard to distinguish from Al Nusra and Al Sham.

Airwars' Samuel Oakford has everything you need to know about the shadow American war in Syria.


From the first Gulf War to the beginning of the Shock and Awe campaign of 2003, which started with an attempt to decapitate Saddam's regime with a salvo of TLAMs, this chart shows how such missiles were used in the Middle East and northern Africa.

The Tomahawk was also heavily used in Serbia and Montenegro, Aghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia.

I've annotated this quick Datawrapper chart to draw attention to the most important Tomahawks bombings in history.

Yes, it's an image.
No, it's not particularly high resolution.
I know.


Data based on original research.

The Times, Sat 8th April 2017 edition