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Rockets and Missiles


The modern age of missile science can probably be said to have begun toward the end of World War II. During this period, German rocket scientists had developed the ability to produce vehicles that could deliver warheads to targets hundreds or thousands of miles from their launch point. For a period of time, it appeared that the German V-2 rocket-missile might very well turn the tide of the war and bring victory to Germany.

The Cold War that followed the end of World War II provided a powerful incentive for the United States, the then Soviet Union, and a few other nations to spend huge amounts of money on the development of newer and more sophisticated missile systems. Missiles have the great advantage of being able to deliver a large destructive force at great distance from the launch site. The enemy can be damaged or destroyed with essentially no damage to the party launching the missile.

As the Cold War developed, however, it became obvious that the missile-development campaign was a never-ending battle. Each new development by one side was soon made obsolete by improvements in anti-missile defense mechanisms by the other side. As a result, there is now a staggering variety of missile types with many different functions and capabilities.

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