Guided Missiles

Looking back in to the history of rockets and guided missiles, we find that rockets were used in China and India around 1000AD for fire works as well as other purposes. During the 18th Century, unguided rockets propelled missiles were used by 'Hyber Ali' and his son 'Tippu Sulthan' against the British.
The current phase in the history of missiles began during the Second World War with the use of V1 and V2 missiles by the Germany. Since then there has been a rapid growth in this field because of technological development.

Types Of Guided Missiles
Presently there are many types of guided missiles. They can be broadly classified on the basis of their features such as type of target, method of launching, range, launch platform, propulsion or guidance and tye of trajectory.
On the basis of target they are classified as Antitank/ Antiarmour, Antipersonnel, Antiaircraft, Antiship/ Antisubmarine, Antisatallites or Antimissiles.Another classification of missiles which depends upon the method of launching. They are surface- to- surface Missiles [ SSM], Surface-to-Air Missiles [SAM], Air -to-Air Missiles [AAM] and Air- to- Surface Missiles. Surface- to - Surface Missiles are common Ground-to-Ground ones. Although these may be launched from a ship to another ship. Under water weapons, which are launched from a submarine, also come under this classification.Surface-to-Air Missiles ar3 essential complaint of modern air defence systems along with Antiaircraft guns which are used against hostile aircrafts. Air-to-air Missiles are for air born battle among fighter or bomber aircraft. These are usually mounted under the wings of the aircraft and are fired against the target. The computer and radar networks control these missiles.

On the basis of range, missiles can be broadly classified as short range missiles, medium range missiles, intermediate range missiles and long range missiles. These classifications is mainly used in the care of SSM missiles which travel a distance of about a distance of about 50 to 100 km. Are designated as short range missiles. Those with a range of 100 to 1500 km. Are called medium range missiles and missiles having a range up to 5000 km. Are said to be intermediate- range missiles. Missiles, which travel a distance of 12000 km, are called long-range missiles.
On the basis of launch platform missiles can be termed as shoulder fired, Land/ Mobile fired, Aircraft/ Helicopter borne, Ship/ submarine- launched.

Based on guidance, missiles are broadly classified as command guider missiles, Homing guidance, Beam rider guidance, inertial navigation guidance and stellar guidance.One more classification is based on the type of trajectory and a missile is called as a ballistic missile or a cruise missile. By definition ballistic missile is the one, which covered a major part of its range outside the atmosphere where the only external force active on the missile is the gravitational force of earth, while the cruise is the one, which travels its entire range within the atmosphere at aim nearly constant height and speed.Another classification based on the propulsion system provided in the missile. So they are classified solid propulsion systems, liquid propulsion systems and hybrid propulsion systems.
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Guided Missile is a self-propelled aerial projectile, containing conventional or nuclear explosives, guided in flight towards a target either by radio signals or by internal mechanisms.
(self-propelled guided weapon system)
It is a method of propelling an object(missile) forward and maintaining its motion.
The motion of missile propulsion depends on the following two laws:
Newton’s third law of motion
Law of conservation of momentum
Types of propulsion:
Atmospheric jet propulsion
Thermal jet propulsion
The atmospheric (air breathing) jet engine depends on the atmosphere to supply the oxygen necessary to start and sustain burning of the fuel.
There are two types of atmospheric jet propulsion systems
Turbojet engine and
Ramjet engine.
A typical turbojet engine includes
an air intake,
a mechanical compressor driven by a turbine,
a combustion chamber and
an exhaust nozzle.
The ramjet engine is a properly shaped duct.
The pressure rise in the engine is achieved by the ram effect of the incoming air being rammed against the barrier.
In thermal jet propulsion , propellants used are basically chemicals, which produces high amount of energy on burning.
They are classified based on the physical state of the propellant used as:
Solid Propulsion
Liquid Propulsion
Solid propellants are used to propel the missile.
E.g. (Fuel + Oxidizer)
Asphalt +potassium perchlorate
Al + Ammonium perchlorate
Easy to design, ensures safety.
Thrust cannot be controlled.
Once ignited, the engine cannot be stopped or restarted.
Liquid propellants are used to propel the missiles.
Both fuel and oxidizer are in the liquid state.
e.g.: (fuel + oxidizer)
Liquid hydrogen + liquid oxygen
Gasoline + liquid oxygen
Alcohol + liquid oxygen
Advantages :
Controlling, stopping and starting the
combustion is very easy.
Storage of the propellants is difficult.
Require complicated piping and pumping
equipment to feed the engines
The purpose of a guidance and control system is to direct the missile to target intercept regardless of whether or not the target takes deliberate evasive action.
The guidance function is based on
Information provided by a signal from the target and
Information sent from the launching station.
Every missile guidance system contains two systems:
An altitude control system and
A flight path control system.
The altitude control system maintains the missile in the desired altitude by controlling it in pitch, roll and yaw.
The flight path control system guides the missile to its designated target by determining the flight path errors, generating the necessary corrections and sending them to the missile’s control subsystem.
Missile guidance is divided into three phases namely
Initial (boost),
Midcourse and
Missiles are boosted to flight speed by the booster component of the propulsion system.
The boost period lasts from the time the missile leaves the launcher until the booster burns up its fuel.
In missiles with separate boosters, the booster drops away from the missile at burnout.
Midcourse guidance is used to put the missile near the target, where the final phase of guidance can take control.
The terminal phase of missile guidance must have a high degree of accuracy, as well as fast response to guidance signals to ensure an intercept.
Near the end of the flight, the missile may be required to maneuver to its maximum capability in order to make the sharp turns needed to overtake and hit a fast-moving, evasive target.
The guidance systems used in guided missiles are:
Inertial guidance
Beam-rider guidance
Homing guidance
TERCOM guidance
An inertial guidance system is one that is designed to fly a predetermined path.
The missile is controlled by self-contained automatic devices called accelerometers (devices that measure accelerations).
In missile control, they measure the vertical, lateral, and longitudinal accelerations of the controlled missile.
Although there may not be contact between the launching site and the missile after launch, the missile can make corrections to its flight path with precision.
It is a type of command guidance in which the missile seeks out the center of a controlled directional radar beam.
The missile's guidance system receives information concerning the position of the missile within the beam and generates its own correction signals, which keep the missile in the center of the beam.
The accuracy of the beam-rider decreases as the range between the missile and the ship increases, therefore, are effective against only short- and medium-range incoming targets.
Homing guidance systems control the path of the missile by
means of a device in the missile that detects and reacts to some
distinguishing feature of (or signal from) the target.
(light, radio, heat, sound waves, or even a magnetic field)
The homing missiles use radar waves to locate the target.
Since the system tracks a characteristic of the target or energy
reflecting off the target, contact between the missile and target is
established and maintained.
Homing guidance methods are normally divided into three types:
active homing,
semi-active homing and
passive homing.
In the active homing system, target illumination is supplied by a component carried in the missile, such as a radar transmitter.
Radar signals
(target’s distance and speed)
Guidance section
(correct angle of attack to intercept)
In the semi active homing system, the missile gets its target illumination from an external source, such as a transmitter carried in the launching aircraft.
The receiver in the missile receives the signals reflected off the target, computes the information and sends electronic commands to the control section.
In the passive homing system, the directing intelligence is received from the target.
Examples of passive homing include
Infrared rays (such as the hot exhaust of jet aircraft)
Radar signals (such as those transmitted by ground radar installations).
The system uses radar to scan the ground/terrain that the missile is passing over. The terrain data is compared to the digital maps stored in the computer on the missile.
These stored digital maps are of the area along the intended flight path of the missiles and are gathered by satellites.
If a drift is noticed, the inertial navigation system is corrected and a course correction is made to put the missile back on path.
Missiles fly very low.
Undetectable by enemy radar.
Reduces drift of the missile.
The explosive payload carried by weapons intended for use in combat, delivered by a missile is known as a warhead.
Types of warheads include:
Explosive: An explosive charge is used to disintegrate the target, and damage surrounding areas with a shock wave.
Conventional: Chemicals such as gunpowder store significant energy within their molecular bonds. This energy can be released quickly by a trigger and an electric spark.
Nuclear: A run away nuclear fission or nuclear fusion reaction causes immense energy release.
Chemical : A toxic chemical, such as poisonous gas, is dispersed, which is designed to injure or kill human beings.
Biological: An infectious agent, such as anthrax spores, is dispersed, which is designed to sicken or kill humans.
Kinetic : Collides with the target at high speed. A detonation is not necessarily required.


Basically any object thrown at a target with the
aim of hitting it is a missile. Thus, a stone thrown at
a bird is a missile. The bird, by using its power of
reasoning may evade the missile (the stone) by moving
either to the Left, right, top or bottom with respect to
the flight path (trajectory) of the missile. Thus, the
missile in this case has been ineffective in its objective
of hitting the bird (the target) . Now, if the stone too
is imparted with some intelligence and quick response
to move with respect to the bird, to overcome aiming
errors and the bird's evasive actions and hit it
accurately, the stone now.becornes a guided missile.

Looking back into the history of rockets and
guided missiles, we find that rockets were used in
China and India around 1000 AD for fireworks as
well as for war purposes. During the 18th century,
unguided rocket propelled missiles were used by
Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan against the British.
There is a reference that two rockets belonging to
Tipu's forces were captured during the fourth Mysore
war in the siege of Seringapatnam in 1799 by
companies of the Bengal and Bombay Artillery of the
East India Company.

Presently, there are many types of guided missiles.
They can be broadly classified on the basis of their
features such as type of target; range; mode of
launching; system adopted for control, propulsion or
guidance; aerodynamics; etc. They are also termed in
a broad sense as strategic or tactical, defensive or

Missile Propulsion
Propulsion is the means of providing power to
accelerate the missile body and sustain, if necessary,
to reach the required target. The basis for the working
of missile propulsion systems are the well-known
Newton's laws of motion. In order to aid a quick
retrospect, these are stated here again.

First Law
A body continues in its state of rest or in uniform
motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an
unbalanced force.

Second Law
The rate of change of momentum is proportional
to the impressed force and takes place in the direction
of the force.

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