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Rockets and Missiles

Structure Of The Missile

Any missile consists essentially of four parts: a body, known as the airframe; the propulsive system; the weapon; and the guidance system. Specifications for the airframes of some typical rockets were given above. The propulsive systems used in missiles are essentially the same as those described for rockets above. That is, they consist of one or more liquid rockets, one or more solid rockets, or some combination of these.

In theory, missiles can carry almost any kind of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon. Anti-tank missiles, as an example, carry very high powered chemical explosives that allow them to penetrate a 24 in (60 cm) thick piece of metal. Nuclear weapons have, however, become especially popular for use in missiles. One reason, of course, is the destructiveness of such weapons. But another reason is that anti-missile jamming programs are often good enough today to make it difficult for even the most sophisticated guided missile to reach its target without interference. Nuclear weapons cause destruction over such a wide area, however, that defensive jamming is less important than it is with more conventional explosive warheads.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Revaluation of values: to Sarin Gas - History And Global Production Of SarinRockets and Missiles - History, Scientific Basis Of Rocketry, Rocket Propulsion, Solid Fuel Rockets, Specific Impulse, Multistage Rockets