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Optimizing assignment of Tomahawk cruise missile missions to firing units



The Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile can be launched from a ship or submarine, and can deliver its warhead precisely to a target at long range. There are several variants of the Tomahawk missile, each with specialized capabilities. For each Tomahawk Missile Sequence Number (MSN) task (i.e., mission), the Tomahawk missile variants can be ranked with respect to their ability and cost effectiveness to perform that task. A given land attack strike order may involve a large number of Tomahawk missiles and numerous Tomahawk launch platforms. Operational planners select, in real time, feasible launch platforms to execute Tomahawk taskings. The Tomahawk tasking in a strike order includes not only primary assignments but also backup assignments. On board each launch platform, the precise allocation of specific Tomahawk missiles to the Tomahawk MSN task assigned is optimized with a model described here. We help naval operational planners select, in real time, appropriate feasible launch platforms to fulfill the Tomahawk tasking in a strike order. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Naval Research Logistics 58: 281–294, 2011