Tomahawk cruise missiles frequently appear in the news because they are the U.S. weapon of choice for a variety of quick-strike operations. With all of the missiles in the U.S. arsenal, have you ever wondered why cruise missiles seem to come up so often?

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense
Submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missile

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we will look at cruise missiles so that you can understand what they are, how they operate and why they are ideal for certain scenarios.