self-propelled guided weapon system

In military terminology, a missile is a guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight. In general, a missile may refer to anything thrown or launched object at a target like a javelin or darts.[1] Nowadays, it means, mostly, a self-propelled guided weapon system. Missiles are used in war to destroy military targets.

MBR Topol M [2] at the Moscow parade rehearsal.

Missiles can carry explosives or other destructive loads. The loads a missile may carry are called a "payload". It is not always harmful to people.

For example, cruise missiles have carried "graphite bombs" to destroy electrical power systems without much collateral damage.[3] Missiles are also one of the causes of explosions.

Types of missiles


The two main kinds of missiles are simple "rockets" and "guided missiles". A rocket is no longer controlled once it has been launched. Most guided missile are also propelled by a rocket engine but can be controlled after it has been launched. Some missiles used in anti-aircraft warfare, such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder, guide themselves with temperature. Others guide themselves by radar or are under radio control.

A BrahMos cruise missile

Cruise missiles are big missiles that carry large payloads to hit ground targets or to badly damage/sink ships. Ballistic missiles look similar, but they keep the engine off and don't stay at a lower height to be more accurate like cruise missiles do. Instead, they go high up to the edge of space and turn off the engine. Since there's no air friction in space, they don't need the engine on to continue moving forward at the same speed. They then crash into the target from the sky. The Topol M is the missile in the picture and is a ballistic missile. In short, cruise missiles have an engine always running and fly low through the atmosphere to get to a target. Ballistic missiles go to the edge of space and turn off their engine to fall to a target. You could say cruise missiles fly while ballistic missiles fall.

The V-1 flying bomb was an early cruise missile, a little pilotless airplane with a bomb, propelled by a jet engine instead of a rocket.



  1. "Darts - Darts Rules - Darts Games - Dart Board Games - Playing Darts". Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
  2. "World's military powers". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2010-05-30. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  3. Pike, John. "BLU-114/B "Soft-Bomb"". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2018-10-06.