What are Ballistic Missiles?

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What are Ballistic Missiles? Blog Image


North Korea recently fired short-range ballistic missiles towards its eastern waters as thr United States Secretary of State prepared to open a democracy summit in neighbouring South Korea.

About Ballistic Missiles

  • A ballistic missile is a rocket-propelled, self-guided strategic-weapons system that follows a ballistic trajectory to deliver a payload from its launch site to a predetermined target.
  • They are powered initially by a rocket or series of rockets in stages, but then follow an unpowered trajectory that arches upwards before descending to reach its intended target.
  • They can carry conventional high explosives as well as chemical, biological, or nuclear munitions.
  • They can be launched from aircraft, ships, and submarines, in addition to land-based silos and mobile platforms.
  • There are four general classifications of ballistic missiles based on their range, or the maximum distance the missile can travel:
    • Short-range: less than 1,000 kilometers (approximately 620 miles), also known as “tactical” ballistic missiles.
    • Medium-range: between 1,000 and 3,000 kilometers (approximately 620-1,860 miles), also known as “theater” ballistic missiles.
    • Intermediate-range: between 3,000 and 5,500 kilometers (approximately 1,860-3,410 miles)
    • Long-range: more than 5,500 kilometers (approximately 3,410 miles), also known as intercontinental or strategic ballistic missiles.
  • Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles are referred to as theater ballistic missiles, whereas ICBMs, or long-range ballistic missiles, are described as strategic ballistic missiles. 

Q1) What is a Cruise Missile?

Cruise missiles are unmanned vehicles that are propelled by jet engines, much like an airplane. They can be launched from ground, air, or sea platforms. Cruise missiles remain within the atmosphere for the duration of their flight and can fly as low as a few meters off the ground. Flying low to the surface of the earth expends more fuel but makes a cruise missile very difficult to detect. 

Source: North Korea fires ballistic missiles as Blinken visits Seoul