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Missile

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Title: Missile  
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Subject: Rocket, Ammunition, Kawasaki Aerospace Company, Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme, December 2012
Collection: Ammunition, Explosive Weapons, Missile Types, Missiles, Rockets and Missiles
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Missile

  • Hurtado, L.A.; Santamaria, C.A.; Fitzgerald, L.A. 2014: The phylogenetic position of the critically endangered Saint Croix ground lizard Ameiva polops: revisiting molecular systematics of West Indian Ameiva.  
    • Date of publication: 6 May 2014

Contents

  • Nomenclatural acts 1
  • Etymology and usage 2
  • Early development 3
  • Technology 4
    • Guidance systems 4.1
    • Targeting systems 4.2
    • Flight system 4.3
    • Engine 4.4
    • Warhead 4.5
  • Basic roles 5
    • Surface-to-Surface/Air-to-Surface 5.1
      • Ballistic 5.1.1
      • Cruise missile 5.1.2
      • Anti-ship 5.1.3
  • Etymology and usage 6
  • Early development 7
  • Technology 8
    • Guidance systems 8.1
    • Targeting systems 8.2
    • Flight system 8.3
    • Engine 8.4
    • Warhead 8.5
  • Basic roles 9
    • Surface-to-Surface/Air-to-Surface 9.1
      • Ballistic 9.1.1

Nomenclatural acts

An ordinary English-language usage predating guided weapons, a missile is "any thrown object", such as objects thrown at players by rowdy spectators at a sporting event.[1]

Etymology and usage

The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send".

In military usage, munitions projected towards a target are broadly categorised as follows:

  • A powered, guided munition that travels through the air or space is known as a missile (or guided missile.)
  • A powered, unguided munition is known as a rocket.
  • Unpowered munitions not fired from a gun are called bombs whether guided or not; unpowered, guided munitions are known as guided bombs or "smart bombs".
  • Munitions that are fired from a gun are known as projectiles whether guided or not. If explosive they are known more specifically as shells or mortar bombs.
  • A Powered munitions that travel through water are called torpedoes (an older usage includes fixed torpedoes, which might today be called mines).
  • Hand grenades are not usually classed as missiles.

A common further sub-division is to consider ballistic missile to mean a munition that follows a ballistic trajectory and cruise missile to describe a munition that generates lift.

Early development

The first missiles to be used operationally were a series of missiles developed by Nazi Germany in World War II. Most famous of these are the V-1 flying bomb and V-2, both of which used a simple mechanical autopilot to keep the missile flying along a pre-chosen route. Less well known were a series of anti-shipping and anti-aircraft missiles, typically based on a simple radio control system directed by the operator. However, these early systems in World War II were only built in small numbers.

Technology

Guided missiles have a number of different system components:

Guidance systems

Missiles may be targeted in a number of ways. The most common method is to use some form of TV camera—using either visible light or infra-red—in order to see the target. The picture may be used either by a human operator who steers the missile onto its target, or by a computer doing much the same job. One of the more bizarre guidance methods instead used a pigeon to steer the missile to its target.

Many missiles use a combination of two or more of the above methods, to improve accuracy and the chances of a successful engagement.

Targeting systems

Another method is to target the missile by knowing the location of the target, and using a guidance system such as INS, TERCOM or GPS. This guidance system guides the missile by knowing the missile's current position and the position of the target, and then calculating a course between them. This job can also be performed somewhat crudely by a human operator who can see the target and the missile, and guides it using either cable or radio based remote-control, or by an automatic system that can simultaneously track the target and the missile. Furthermore, 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.

Flight system

Whether a guided missile uses a targeting system, a guidance system or both, it needs a flight system. The flight system uses the data from the targeting or guidance system to maneuver the missile in flight, allowing it to counter inaccuracies in the missile or to follow a moving target. There are two main systems: vectored thrust (for missiles that are powered throughout the guidance phase of their flight) and aerodynamic maneuvering (wings, fins, canards, etc.).

Engine

Missiles are powered by an engine, generally either a type of rocket or jet engine. Rockets are generally of the solid fuel type for ease of maintenance and fast deployment, although some larger ballistic missiles use liquid fuel rockets. Jet engines are generally used in cruise missiles, most commonly of the turbojet type, due to its relative simplicity and low frontal area. Turbofans and ramjets are the only other common forms of jet engine propulsion, although any type of engine could theoretically be used. Missiles often have multiple engine stages, particularly in those launched from the surface. These stages may all be of similar types or may include a mix of engine types - for example, surface-launched cruise missiles often have a rocket booster for launching and a jet engine for sustained flight.

Some missiles may have additional propulsion from another source at launch; for example the V1 was launched by a catapult and the MGM-51 was fired out of a tank gun (using a smaller charge than would be used for a shell).

Warhead

Missiles generally have one or more explosive warheads, although other weapon types may also be used. The warhead or warheads of a missile provides its primary destructive power (many missiles have extensive secondary destructive power due to the high kinetic energy of the weapon and unburnt fuel that may be on board). Warheads are most commonly of the high explosive type, often employing shaped charges to exploit the accuracy of a guided weapon to destroy hardened targets. Other warhead types include submunitions, incendiaries, nuclear weapons, chemical, biological or radiological weapons or kinetic energy penetrators. Warheadless missiles are often used for testing and training purposes.

Basic roles

Missiles are generally categorized by their launch platform and intended target. In broadest terms, these will either be surface (ground or water) or air, and then sub-categorized by range and the exact target type (such as anti-tank or anti-ship). Many weapons are designed to be launched from both surface or the air, and a few are designed to attack either surface or air targets (such as the ADATS missile). Most weapons require some modification in order to be launched from the air or surface, such as adding boosters to the surface-launched version.

Surface-to-Surface/Air-to-Surface

Ballistic

An R-36 ballistic missile launch at a Soviet silo

After the boost-stage, ballistic missiles follow a trajectory mainly determined by ballistics. The guidance is for relatively small deviations from that.

Ballistic missiles are largely used for land attack missions. Although normally associated with nuclear weapons, some conventionally armed ballistic missiles are in service, such as ATACMS. The V2 had demonstrated that a ballistic missile could deliver a warhead to a target city with no possibility of interception, and the introduction of nuclear weapons meant it could efficiently do damage when it arrived. The accuracy of these systems was fairly poor, but post-war development by most military forces improved the basic inertial platform concept to the point where it could be used as the guidance system on ICBMs flying thousands of kilometers. Today the ballistic missile represents the only strategic deterrent in most military forces, however some ballistic missiles are being adapted for conventional roles, such as the Russian Iskander or the Chinese DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile. Ballistic missiles are primarily surface launched from mobile launchers, silos, ships or submarines, with air launch being theoretically possible with a weapon such as the cancelled Skybolt missile.

The Russian Topol M (SS-27 Sickle B) is the fastest (7,320 m/s) missile currently in service[2]

Cruise missile

United States Tomahawk cruise missile
Indian Supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.

The V1 had been successfully intercepted during World War II, but this did not make the cruise missile concept entirely useless. After the war, the US deployed a small number of nuclear-armed cruise missiles in Germany, but these were considered to be of limited usefulness. Continued research into much longer ranged and faster versions led to the US's SM-64 Navaho, and its Soviet counterparts, the Burya and Buran cruise missile. However, these were rendered largely obsolete by the ICBM, and none were used operationally. Shorter-range developments have become widely used as highly accurate attack systems, such as the US Tomahawk missile, the Russian Kh-55 the German Taurus missile and the Pakistani Babur cruise missile.The BrahMos cruise missile which is a joint venture between India and Russia. The Brahmos is different in this class as it's a supersonic cruise missile which can travel much faster(2-3m) than other cruise missile which are subsonic.

Cruise missiles are generally associated with land attack operations, but also have an important role as anti-shipping weapons. They are primarily launched from air, sea or submarine platforms in both roles, although land based launchers also exist.

Anti-ship

The French Exocet missile in flight

Another major German missile development project was the anti-shipping class (such as the Fritz X and Henschel Hs 293), intended to stop any attempt at a cross-channel invasion. However the British were able to render their systems useless by jamming their radios, and missiles with wire guidance were not ready by D-Day. After the war the anti-shipping class slowly developed, and became a major class in the 1960s with the introduction of the low-flying jet- or rocket-powered cruise missiles known as "sea-skimmers". These became famous during the Falklands War when an Argentine Exocet missile sank a Royal Navy destroyer.

A number of anti-submarine missiles also exist; these generally use the missile in order to deliver another weapon system such as a torpedo or depth charge to the location of the submarine, at which point the other weapon will conduct the underwater
A V-2 missile launch by the British during Operation Backfire

In a modern military usage, a missile, or guided missile, is a self-propelled guided weapon system, as opposed to an unguided self-propelled munition, referred to as just a rocket. Missiles have four system components: targeting and/or guidance, flight system, engine, and warhead. Missiles come in types adapted for different purposes: surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missiles (ballistic, cruise, anti-ship, anti-tank, etc.), surface-to-air missiles (anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic), air-to-air missiles, and anti-satellite missiles. All known existing missiles are designed to be propelled during powered flight by chemical reactions inside a rocket engine, jet engine, or other type of engine. Non-self-propelled airborne explosive devices are generally referred to as shells and usually have a shorter range than missiles.

An ordinary English-language usage predating guided weapons, a missile is "any thrown object", such as objects thrown at players by rowdy spectators at a sporting event.[3]

Etymology and usage

The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send".

In military usage, munitions projected towards a target are broadly categorised as follows:

  • A powered, guided munition that travels through the air or space is known as a missile (or guided missile.)
  • A powered, unguided munition is known as a rocket.
  • Unpowered munitions not fired from a gun are called bombs whether guided or not; unpowered, guided munitions are known as guided bombs or "smart bombs".
  • Munitions that are fired from a gun are known as projectiles whether guided or not. If explosive they are known more specifically as shells or mortar bombs.
  • A Powered munitions that travel through water are called torpedoes (an older usage includes fixed torpedoes, which might today be called mines).
  • Hand grenades are not usually classed as missiles.

A common further sub-division is to consider ballistic missile to mean a munition that follows a ballistic trajectory and cruise missile to describe a munition that generates lift.

Early development

The first missiles to be used operationally were a series of missiles developed by Nazi Germany in World War II. Most famous of these are the V-1 flying bomb and V-2, both of which used a simple mechanical autopilot to keep the missile flying along a pre-chosen route. Less well known were a series of anti-shipping and anti-aircraft missiles, typically based on a simple radio control system directed by the operator. However, these early systems in World War II were only built in small numbers.

Technology

Guided missiles have a number of different system components:

Guidance systems

Missiles may be targeted in a number of ways. The most common method is to use some form of TV camera—using either visible light or infra-red—in order to see the target. The picture may be used either by a human operator who steers the missile onto its target, or by a computer doing much the same job. One of the more bizarre guidance methods instead used a pigeon to steer the missile to its target.

Many missiles use a combination of two or more of the above methods, to improve accuracy and the chances of a successful engagement.

Targeting systems

Another method is to target the missile by knowing the location of the target, and using a guidance system such as INS, TERCOM or GPS. This guidance system guides the missile by knowing the missile's current position and the position of the target, and then calculating a course between them. This job can also be performed somewhat crudely by a human operator who can see the target and the missile, and guides it using either cable or radio based remote-control, or by an automatic system that can simultaneously track the target and the missile. Furthermore, 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.

Flight system

Whether a guided missile uses a targeting system, a guidance system or both, it needs a flight system. The flight system uses the data from the targeting or guidance system to maneuver the missile in flight, allowing it to counter inaccuracies in the missile or to follow a moving target. There are two main systems: vectored thrust (for missiles that are powered throughout the guidance phase of their flight) and aerodynamic maneuvering (wings, fins, canards, etc.).

Engine

Missiles are powered by an engine, generally either a type of rocket or jet engine. Rockets are generally of the solid fuel type for ease of maintenance and fast deployment, although some larger ballistic missiles use liquid fuel rockets. Jet engines are generally used in cruise missiles, most commonly of the turbojet type, due to its relative simplicity and low frontal area. Turbofans and ramjets are the only other common forms of jet engine propulsion, although any type of engine could theoretically be used. Missiles often have multiple engine stages, particularly in those launched from the surface. These stages may all be of similar types or may include a mix of engine types - for example, surface-launched cruise missiles often have a rocket booster for launching and a jet engine for sustained flight.

Some missiles may have additional propulsion from another source at launch; for example the V1 was launched by a catapult and the MGM-51 was fired out of a tank gun (using a smaller charge than would be used for a shell).

Warhead

Missiles generally have one or more explosive warheads, although other weapon types may also be used. The warhead or warheads of a missile provides its primary destructive power (many missiles have extensive secondary destructive power due to the high kinetic energy of the weapon and unburnt fuel that may be on board). Warheads are most commonly of the high explosive type, often employing shaped charges to exploit the accuracy of a guided weapon to destroy hardened targets. Other warhead types include submunitions, incendiaries, nuclear weapons, chemical, biological or radiological weapons or kinetic energy penetrators. Warheadless missiles are often used for testing and training purposes.

Basic roles

Missiles are generally categorized by their launch platform and intended target. In broadest terms, these will either be surface (ground or water) or air, and then sub-categorized by range and the exact target type (such as anti-tank or anti-ship). Many weapons are designed to be launched from both surface or the air, and a few are designed to attack either surface or air targets (such as the ADATS missile). Most weapons require some modification in order to be launched from the air or surface, such as adding boosters to the surface-launched version.

Surface-to-Surface/Air-to-Surface

Ballistic

An R-36 ballistic missile launch at a Soviet silo

After the boost-stage, ballistic missiles follow a trajectory mainly determined by ballistics. The guidance is for relatively small deviations from that.

Ballistic missiles are largely used for land attack missions. Although normally associated with nuclear weapons, some conventionally armed ballistic missiles are in service, such as ATACMS. The V2 had demonstrated that a ballistic missile could deliver a warhead to a target city with no possibilit

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