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  • A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flight path with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target.
  • The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the laws of orbital mechanics and ballistics.
  • To date, ballistic missiles have been propelled during powered flight by chemical rocket engines of various types.
  • A ballistic missile trajectory consists of three parts: the powered flight portion, the free-flight portion which constitutes most of the flight time, and the re-entry phase where the missile re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere. Ballistic missiles can be launched from fixed sites or mobile launchers, including vehicles (transporter erector launchers), aircraft, ships and submarines.
  • When in space and no more thrust is provided, the missile enters free-flight. In order to cover large distances, ballistic missiles are usually launched into a high sub-orbital spaceflight; for intercontinental missiles the highest altitude (apogee) reached during free-flight is about 1200 km.


  • A quasi ballistic missile (semi ballistic missile) is a category of missile that has a low trajectory and/or is largely ballistic but can perform manoeuvres in flight or make unexpected changes in direction and range.                                                              TYPES OF MISSILE
  • At a lower trajectory than a ballistic missile, a quasi ballistic missile can maintain higher speed, thus allowing its target less time to react to the attack, at the cost of reduced range.
  • The Russian Iskander – M is a quasi ballistic missile. China has recently developed the first and only anti-ship ballistic missile in the world that combines a manoeuvrable re-­entry vehicle (MaRV) with a terminal guidance system, allowing them to adjust the flight path as they near their target.


  • An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is a missile designed to counter ballistic missiles (i.e. a missile for missile defence). A ballistic missile is used to deliver nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional warheads in a ballistic flight trajectory.                                  TYPES OF MISSILE
  • The term “anti-ballistic missile” describes any antimissile system designed to counter ballistic missiles. However the term is used more commonly for systems designed to counter intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).


  • A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy.
  • Modern cruise missiles can travel at supersonic or high subsonic speeds, are self-navigating, and can fly on a non-ballistic, extremely low altitude trajectory.
  • They are distinct from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in that they are used only as weapons and not for reconnaissance. In a cruise missile, the warhead is integrated into the vehicle and the vehicle is always sacrificed in the mission.
  • While ballistic missiles were the preferred weapons for land targets, heavy nuclear and conventional tipped cruise missiles were seen by the USSR as a primary weapon to destroy US naval carrier battle groups.                                                                            TYPES OF MISSILE
  • Cruise missiles generally consist of a guidance system, payload, and propulsion system, housed in an airframe with small wings and empennage for flight control. Payloads usually consist of a conventional warhead or a nuclear warhead. These tend to be propelled by a jet engine, turbofan engines being preferred due to their greater efficiency at low altitude and sub-sonic speed.



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