Can you change an object's forward without rotating it?

I’m working on a very simple 2D game on the XZ plane. I’ve created a simple cylinder which I’m using as a missile. I rotated the object so the length of the cylinder is pointed in the right direction, but the Y axis is now pointing down, so when I use transform.foward() it falls down through the background instead.
I could use transform.up() and the object moves in the right direction. But when I later want to fire the missile toward a mouse-click, I can’t just use transform.Lookat(), I’ll have to adjust it.

Is there a way to redefine what my “forward” direction is without rotating the object?

Thanks in advance.

Changing the forward of a transform without rotating it does not make any sense. A better approach may be to parent your cylinder to another object. This way you can rotate the cylinder and use the parent for orientation.

sprites can be flipped without rotating in inspector