If the U.S. follows through with a military strike on Syria, the weapon of choice will likely be the Tomahawk cruise missile.
Cruise missiles have been used by the U.S. as far back as 1991 in the Gulf War, and as recently as 2011 when they were fired against 20 targets in Libya.
Some of the past missions relied on the Block III Tomahawk cruise missile, which is programmed in advance to strike a specific target and then launched. Today, the Block IV missile is also in use, featuring increased capabilities, including technology that allows it to change course or targets after it has been launched. The Block IV can also hover for extended periods of time before it actually strikes.
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A U.S. Navy official confirmed to Discovery News that GPS technology is used to update the navigation system within the weapon. Still, there are possible stumbling blocks that can cause the missiles to be ineffective.
"There is always the possibility that the intelligence being used is hours or days old, and by that time the target has been moved or human shields brought in to protect the site," said Michael Eisenstadt, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "The Block IV also has its own camera on board to do battle assessment, to see if a re-strike is necessary."