As recently as last summer, the Tomahawk missile was being reported as a key to U.S. military plans, particularly in Syria. 

New and improved versions were reported just weeks ago.

This 2012 Raytheon video demonstrates the Tomahawk’s flight path:

Unless something changes, however, the Tomahawk is on the chopping block.

In late February Chuck Hagel announced the administration’s more butter, fewer guns budget, and the Tomahawk missile was chopped, along with many other programs, as reported at the time by Defense News:

Most of the US Navy’s aviation programs take significant hits in the 2015 budget, including the P-8A Poseidon, F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, and MH-60R helicopter, and plans to buy the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned shipboard aircraft have been shelved for now.

The budget also takes a big bite out of weapons procurement, notably the elimination of Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile procurement after this year….

Weapons procurement showed striking reductions from last year’s plans. Then, the Navy planned to buy 980 Tactical Tomahawks, the primary cruise missile in use throughout the fleet. The new plan shows only 100 missiles in 2015 and none thereafter.

The reduction reflects shifting investment to a new next-generation land attack weapon, said Lt. Caroline Hutcheson, a Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon, who also noted that the current inventory of Block IV Tactical Tomahawks exceeds combat requirements.

Adam Kredo at The Washington Free Beacon calls attention to this development today, Obama to Kill Tomahawk, Hellfire Missile Programs:

President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say has helped the U.S. Navy maintain military superiority for the past several decades.

The Tomahawk missile program—known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile”—is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016, according to budget documents released by the Navy.

In addition to the monetary cuts to the program, the number of actual Tomahawk missiles acquired by the United States would drop significantly—from 196 last year to just 100 in 2015. The number will then drop to zero in 2016.

The Navy will also be forced to cancel its acquisition of the well-regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015, according to Obama’s proposal.

The proposed elimination of these missile programs came as a shock to lawmakers and military experts, who warned ending cutting these missiles would significantly erode America’s ability to deter enemy forces.

I’d like to think this is some kind of smart evaluation of military needs and capabilities.

But that would run counter to the reason Hagel was brought on board in the first place, to oversee the scaling back of American military power and retrenchment of U.S. power abroad:

Chuck Hagel has been nominated to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks. If a Democratic president is going to slash defense, he probably wants a Republican at the Pentagon to give him political cover, and he probably wants a decorated war hero to boot.