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Submitted By SAHIL KALRA EL/08/452

A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a suborbital 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 this date, ballistic missiles have been propelled during powered flight by chemical rocket engines of various types.

The first ballistic missile was the A-4 commonly known as the V-2 rocket developed by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. The first successful launch of a V-2 was on October 3, 1942 and began operation on September 6, 1944 against Paris, followed by an attack on London two days later. By the end of World War II, May 1945, over 3,000 V-2s had been launched. A total of 30 nations have deployed operational ballistic missiles. Development continues, with around 100 ballistic missile flight tests over the globe, mostly by China, India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and the Russian Federation.

V-2 Rocket(1944-WW2)

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. The powered flight portion can last from a few tens of seconds to several minutes and can consist of multiple rocket stages. Ballistic missiles can be launched from fixed sites or mobile launchers. When in space and no more thrust is required, 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 reached during free-flight is about 1200 km. The re-entry stage begins at an altitude where atmospheric drag plays a significant part in missile trajectory and lasts until missile impact.

Parts of a Ballistic Missile

The various parts of a Ballistic Missile are studied under the following divisions:-


Power Source

Guidance Mechanism

Schematic Diagram

Missile Types
Ballistic missiles can vary widely in range and use, and are often divided into categories based on range. Various schemes are used by different countries to categorize the ranges of ballistic missiles: Tactical ballistic missile(150 km and 300 km): Battlefield range ballistic missile(BRBM): Range less than 200 km
Theatre ballistic missile(TBM) 300 km - 3,500 km 1.Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM):1,000 km or less 2.Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM):1,000 km 3,500 km Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) or longrange(LRBM) 3,500 km 5,500 km Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM): Range greater than 5,500 km Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM): Launched from ballistic missile submarines(SSBNs) (Virtually infinite range)

A warhead is an explosive device used in military conflicts, used to destroy enemy vehicles or buildings. Typically, a warhead is delivered by a missile, rocket or torpedo. It consists of the explosive material, and a detonator.
Conventional Chemicals such as gunpowder store significant energy within their molecular bonds. This energy can be released quickly by a trigger, such as an electric spark. Metal fragments are projected at high velocity to cause damage or injury. A runaway nuclear fission or nuclear fusion reaction causes immense energy release which is followed by an EMP. A toxic chemical, such as poison or nerve gas, is dispersed, which is designed to incapacitate or kill human beings. An infectious agent, such as anthrax spores, is dispersed, which is designed to sicken or kill humans.
Conventional Fragmentation

Fragmentation Nuclear Chemical Biological




Power Source
Missiles are powered by an engine, either a type of rocket or jet engine. Rockets are generally of the solid fuel type for ease of maintenance and fast deployment, although some larger ballistic missiles use liquid fuel. Jet engines are generally used in cruise missiles, most commonly of the turbojet type, due to its relative simplicity .Turbofans and Ramjets are the only other common forms of jet engine propulsion. Missiles often have multiple engine stages, particularly in those launched from the ground, with the sole objective to improve the range.

Guidance Mechanism
A Guidance system is a device or group of devices used to navigate a missile.Typically, this refers to a system that navigates without direct or continuous human control. These mechanisms have evolved significantly over the past few decades after the end of WWII.
Navigation It is the process of determining the targets location and setting up a flight path.

This part takes in the parameters fed by the navigation system and processes it to take the Missile to its target but within the operational limits. Control Guidance sends signals to the controls station which accordingly sets the aerodynamics and the engine speed, altitude etc. .

Navigation System

Guidance System
Missile guidance refers to a variety of methods of guiding a missile to its intended target. Guidance systems are divided into two categories: GOT-Go Onto Target, which includes remote control and laser homing techniques. GOLIS-Go On Location In Space, includes satellite Guidance systems guidance technique.

Remote Control

Laser Homing

Satellite guidance

Indias Missile Program