Missiles are the weapons of mass destruction. They vary from small tactical weapons that are effective out to only a few hundred feet to much larger strategic weapons that have ranges of several thousand miles.
Guided missiles have a number of different system components:
Missiles can be classified as Unguided Missiles and Guided missiles.
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The guided missiles contain some form of guidance and control mechanism and are therefore often referred to as guided missiles. The most common method of guidance is to use some form of radiation, such as infrared, lasers, or radio waves, to guide the missile onto its target.
Some missiles also have the capability to guide itself to a radar-emitting source. Many missiles use a combination of two or more methods to improve accuracy and the chances of successful engagement.
The guidance system guides the missile after knowing the missile’s current position and the position of the target and then calculating a course between them.
Some missiles use initial targeting, sending them to a target area, where they will switch to primary targeting, using either radar or IR targeting to acquire the target.
An unguided missile, as well as any launch vehicle used to sound the upper atmosphere or place a satellite in space, is usually referred to as a rocket. They are a self-propelled, generally unguided, weapon-system powered by a rocket engine.
Rockets or missiles that travel underwater, like the VA-111 Shkval, are known as “torpedoes”, whatever their propulsion system.
Unguided rockets are a widely used weapon system and have been launched from aircraft since the early 20th century, to attack land, sea and air targets. Even after the development of guided missiles, rockets remain useful for short-range attacks typically for close air support missions.
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