On Thursday, April 6th, President Trump ordered a military strike on Syria in retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians carried out by the Syrian government earlier in the week. CNN reported that the U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airfield from which that attack had been launched. CNN estimates the cost of each Tomahawk missile at $832,000, based on extrapolation of 1999 prices, meaning the cost of the missiles along was only $49 million. A Center for Public Integrity article pegs the price at $1.4 million a pop, nearly doubling the cost to $82 million.
“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council,” said President Trump.
While the strike and its possible repercussions made stock markets nervous, shares of Tomahawk maker Raytheon (RTN) jumped in pre-market trade. The stock closed at $150.75/sh yesterday but the share price jumped past $156 before markets opened, though eventually shed some of those gains. (See also: Safe Haven Assets Rally Amidst U.S. Strike on Syria)
According to its investor filings, last year the company received orders worth $367 million for the Tomahawk missiles from the U.S. Navy and international customers. The U.S. began selling these missiles to the U.K. in 1995.
The Tomahawk missiles according to CSIS Missile Defense Project are intermediate range, subsonic cruise missiles that can be launched from U.S. Navy ships and submarines. The Navy began developing the earliest avatars of these missiles in 1972, and they were first used in combat 1991 in Operation Desert Storm, during the first Gulf War. The missiles are have a range of 1,250-2,500 km and can carry 454 kilos of payload. Each missile can be 5.55 to 6.25 m long and have a diameter of 0.52 m.
The U.S. Navy sought $434 million to modify these missiles to reach targets beyond their current reach according to the CSIS. Also, in January this year the U.S. Navy carried out two test flights for the latest version of these missiles, the Tomahawk Block IV.