As it became completely clear that initial responses of compliance with UN resolution by the Gaddafi Regime, where not forthcoming, and Gaddafi in his own speeches was clear that there was no truce that he had accepted, the offensive to protect Libyan people, started on Saturday night.
The Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile has been used to attack a variety of fixed Libyan targets, including air defence and communications sites. The Tomahawk missiles fired by the international coalition forces last night, were fired to fly supersonic, from a British Trafalgar-class submarine and two American warships in the Mediterranean.
RAF Tornado Jets also flew from Marham, Norfolk, UK to military targets in Tripoli and Misrata, news sources have announced.
The high technology Tomahawk cruise missile which is a marvel of what intelligent systems can do, was fired, and directed on military targets. This missile is likely to prove a prominent weapon in the allied assault on Libyan military targets. However, the public, today will have little knowledge of this missile which is in use by the US and UK forces.
Tomahawks can reach their targets extremely effectively, and are preferred as they put allied personnel at the lowest possible risk because they can be fired from well away from the conflict. They are set off from both ships and submarines.
They are difficult to detect because they can follow a route far from straight or predictable and fly at very low altitude, so they are hard to detect by radar.
The RAF’s Tornado and Typhoon jets have also flown, and will no doubt continue many sorties over the next few days as part of the UK’s contribution to international efforts.
The most sophisticated version of the Tomahawk used for land based targets has what is called inertial and terrain contour matching (TERCOM) radar guidance. Several different types of warheads are used.
Radar detection of the missile is extremely difficult because of the small radar cross-section and low altitude. Radar detection is difficult because of the missile’s small radar and visual cross-section, low altitude flight, small heat signature and high speed (650mph).