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Cruise missile

Definition A cruise missile is a guided missile used against terrestrial targets, that remains in the atmosphere and flies the major portion of its flight path at approximately constant speed. It is propelled by a jet engine, and can travel long distances, typically hundreds of miles. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead […]

Definition

A cruise missile is a guided missile used against terrestrial targets, that remains in the atmosphere and flies the major portion of its flight path at approximately constant speed. It is propelled by a jet engine, and can travel long distances, typically hundreds of miles. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high precision.

Key Takeaways

  1. A cruise missile is a guided missile used against terrestrial targets and operates within the earth’s atmosphere. It maintains flight through aerodynamic lift. The missile carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine.
  2. Cruise missiles have high precision and can be launched from a variety of platforms including submarines, ships, aircraft and land bases. They generally have a long range, making them effective strategic weapons.
  3. There are two main types of cruise missiles: subsonic cruise missiles travel at speeds less than the speed of sound, while supersonic cruise missiles travel faster. More advanced types, like the hypersonic cruise missiles, move even faster and are incredibly hard to intercept.

Importance

Cruise missiles play a crucial role in modern military operations due to their precise accuracy, adaptable payload, and significant range capabilities.

They are self-navigating weapons that can be programmed with specific target coordinates and can adjust their path mid-flight, reducing the risk of collateral damage and increasing the likelihood of successfully eliminating intended targets.

Additionally, their ability to carry diverse payloads, including conventional and nuclear warheads, makes them an extremely versatile tool during combat.

Their long range enables a military force to strike strategic targets from considerable distances, aiding in threat neutralization quickly and efficiently while minimizing the exposure of military personnel to hostile environments.

Therefore, the term “cruise missile” is critical because it signifies a transformative technological advancement in military operations, symbolizing a shift towards precision and efficiency in warfare.

Explanation

The fundamental purpose of a cruise missile is to deliver a warhead to a predetermined target with utmost precision. These are designed to be launched from various platforms such as submarines, ships, aircraft or land-based systems, and they can travel at high subsonic, supersonic, or hypersonic speeds. Cruise missiles are used primarily in warfare for strategic or tactical operations.

They are indispensable for modern military operations as they allow for precise strikes on enemy targets from long-range distances, reducing the risk to troops and minimizing collateral damage. Cruise missiles serve purposes beyond combat as well. They play an essential role in deterrence and force projection – the demonstration of military power as a means of discouraging potential adversaries.

These missiles often carry conventional or nuclear warheads, thus serving as a potent deterrent to any potential enemy aggression. Furthermore, in peacekeeping operations, they can be used to enforce no-fly zones and other sanctions. Hence, while cruise missiles are best known for their use in combat, their full range of purposes extends to various aspects of maintaining and enforcing peace.

Examples of Cruise missile

Tomahawk Cruise Missile: It is an example of a long-range, all-weather, jet-powered, subsonic cruise missile that the United States military uses. Launched from naval surface ships and submarines, they have been used extensively for precision strike missions since being introduced in the 1980s. One prominent usage of the Tomahawk Cruise Missile was during the Gulf War in

Kalibr Cruise Missile: Used by the Russian Navy, the Kalibr cruise missile is a versatile missile system capable of being launched from submarines, surface ships, or land. It was widely used in Syria by the Russian military to attack various targets during their intervention in the Syrian civil war.

BrahMos Cruise Missile: It’s a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile developed by India and Russia. It can be launched from a variety of platforms – land, sea, air, and submarine. It has been deployed along India’s border for strategic deterrence and was famously used in 2019 by the Indian Air Force in a precision strike mission.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cruise Missiles

What is a Cruise Missile?

A Cruise Missile is a type of missile that delivers a warhead to its target in a straight and level flight. It’s guided by an onboard computer system and uses a jet propulsion system to maintain its flight path.

What is the range of a Cruise Missile?

The range of a Cruise Missile varies based on its type. Some can travel 1000 kilometers or more. The exact distance depends significantly on the missile’s design and technology.

Are Cruise Missiles used in modern warfare?

Yes, Cruise Missiles are considered an essential component of modern warfare. They are strategic, highly accurate, and can be launched from air, sea, and land platforms.

What types of warheads do Cruise Missiles carry?

Cruise Missiles can carry various warheads, including conventional, nuclear, or even biological and chemical warheads. The type of warhead depends on the mission’s aim.

Are Cruise Missiles a threat to civilian populations?

While Cruise Missiles are intended for military targets, their potential for error or misuse, particularly when armed with non-conventional warheads, does pose a significant threat to civilian populations.

Related Military Operation Terms

  1. Veteran Affairs
  2. Defense Systems
  3. Military Operations
  4. Strategic Forces
  5. Missile Technology

Sources for More Information

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