20 Reasons Why Tomahawk Missiles Should Put Assad In A State Of Panic

A purported chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,000, including many children, has elicited the ire of the West.

The USS Barry and three other warships promptly took up positions off the coast of Syria, poised to unleash a storm of Tactical Tomahawk missiles.

While Syrian and Iranian officials have said they will defend themselves against any Western strike, their best defence seems to be appealing to the U.N. for time.

Nevertheless, it seems their time is quickly running out.

Having seen 30 years of continuous service, Tomahawk missiles are one of the most reliable weapons on the battlefield.

More than 2,000 have been fired in combat -- and they've become so much more lethal since the first.

With advanced contour mapping, they fly low to the ground to avoid radar. Assad has better air defenses than Libya did in 2011, however, thus the need for maximum redundancy.

Most of the American warships come equipped with upward of 90 of these missiles.

So Obama has roughly 360 missiles to fire, with four ships patrolling near Syria.

Each has a range of up to 1,300 nautical miles, more than enough to touch the Syrian capital of Damascus.

They travel at more than 500 miles per hour, meaning they'll barely be seen by ground personnel before they strike.

They deliver a 1,000 pound warhead, enough to devastate roughly half an urban block.

Tomahawks can hit a target the size of a home's window ...

With devastating effect.

They also come in a cluster bomb variety, ideal for taking out any outlying personnel and materiel.

Since they were first fired in combat in 1991, they have boasted an 85% direct hit rate.

Tomahawks can be fired from submerged submarines, from batteries on the ground, from planes in the air, and from ships on the surface.

Syria's two 'inactive' subs certainly won't cover the UK's HMS Triumph, poised with the US to launch its 30-Tomahawk store at targets inside Syria.

That's a grand total 390 missiles pointed at Syria, awaiting the orders ...

GPS target marking gives each operator the option of switching to 15 different stored targets.

They can be programmed to hover over their targets for hours, while onboard cameras provide commanders with a real-time view of the battlefield.

Four onboard guidance systems provide not only redundancy, but accuracy.

And like the American postal service, these all weather weapons deliver rain or shine.

All said and done, the Tomahawk is one of the preferred means for reaching out and touching a hostile enemy, with little risk of sustaining casualties.

See what it means on the grand scale of global firepower.

(image url='http://static.businessinsider.com/image/521e29f8eab8eab8682e0772/image.jpg' alt='Attached image' link='lightbox' size='xlarge' align='center' nocrop='true' clear='true')

The 10 Most Powerful Militaries In The World>

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.