Key point: The Tomahawk missile was a big deal and another similarly accurate and reliable weapon would have been needed.
For the past three decades, America’s signature weapon of war has been the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, or TLAM. The TLAM has helped bust down the doors of air-defense networks from Iraq to Libya, and has become a favorite tool of political influence for several presidents.
But what if the TLAM had never existed, or at least not in the form that we have grown accustomed to? What if the United States had given up the TLAM in arms control negotiations with the USSR?
Land Attack Cruise Missiles:
The TLAM was hardly the first cruise missile launched from a ship, or submarine. Rudimentary anti-ship cruise missiles began to appear during World War II, and by the 1960s the Soviet Navy was arming every ship bigger than a torpedo boat with ASMs. Both the USN and the USSR developed nuclear tipped cruise missiles to attack coastal targets in the late 1950s.