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S. No. Topic
2 HISTORY OF MISSILES
3 MISSILES OF MODERN INDIA
4 MISSILE COMPONENTS
5 PRINCIPLE OF WORKING
6 CLASSIFICATION OF MISSILES
A flying weapon that has its own engine so that it
can travel a long distance before exploding at
the place that it has been aimed at … Missiles have four
system components: targeting and/or guidance, flight
system, propulsion system and warhead.
The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, literally
meaning "to send".
They are basically rockets which are meant for destructive purposes
Missiles differ from rockets by virtue of a guidance system that
steers them towards a pre-selected target.
Missiles are often used in warfare as a means of delivering
destructive force (usually in the form of an explosive warhead) upon
Aside from explosives, other possible types of destructive missile
payloads are various forms of chemical or biological agents, nuclear
warheads, or simple kinetic energy (where the missile destroys the
target by the force of striking it at high speed).
HISTORY OF MISSILES
Rockets were invented in medieval China (1044 AD) but its first
practical use for serious purpose took place in 1232 AD by the Chinese
against the Mongols.
There after Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan (Sultan of Mysore in south
India) perfected the rocket's use for military purposes, very effectively
using it in war against British colonial armies.
At the Battle of Seringapatanam in 1792, Indian soldiers launched a
huge barrage of rockets against British troops, followed by a huge
massacre of British forces.
Portrait of Tipu Sultan
Sultan of Mysore, present day Karnataka,
Unlike contemporary rockets whose
combustion chamber was made of wood
(bamboo), Tipu's rockets (weighing between
2.2 to 5.5 kg) used iron cylinder casings that
allowed greater pressure, thrust and range
(1.5 to 2.5 Km). The British were greatly
impressed by the Mysorean rockets using iron
MISSILES IN MODERN INDIA
After regaining independence in
1947, India focused all its energy in
nation building, primarily on
economic and industrial
development fully understanding
the key role of science and
Indian rocketry was reborn, thanks
to the farsighted technological
vision of Prime Minister Pundit
Professor Vikram Sarabhai took
the challenge of realizing this
Hon. President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam played a key engineering role in
realizing both the Indian SLV-3 space launcher as well as the Prithvi and Agni
Initial missile programs like Project Devil (a theatre ballistic missile) and Project
Valiant (an intercontinental ballistic missile) were scattered and stymied by
many issues. But the success of all our missile programs including BRAHMOS
makes up for the shelved old projects.
Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Guided missiles are made up of a series of subassemblies. The major
sections are carefully joined and connected to each other. They form the
complete missile assembly.
The major components of a missile are:
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.
Types of warhead :-
Explosive: An explosive charge is used to disintegrate the target, and
damage surrounding areas with a shockwave.
Chemical: A toxic chemical, such as nerve gas is dispersed, which is
designed to injure or kill human beings.
Biological: An infectious agent, such as anthrax is dispersed, which is
designed to sicken and kill humans.
Nuclear: A runaway nuclear fission or fusion reaction causes immense
Fragmentation: Metal fragments are projected at high velocity to cause
damage or injury.
Shaped Charge: The effect of the explosive charge is focused onto a specially
shaped metal liner to project a hypervelocity jet of metal, to perforate
Fig.- A NUCLEAR
It includes those devices and arrangements that cause the missile's payload
to function in proper relation to the target.
There are two general types of fuzes used in
guided missiles •proximity fuzes and contact fuzes.
Some common methods of fusing are:-
Radio frequency sensing
The shell contains a micro transmitter which uses the shell body as
an antenna and emits a continuous wave of roughly 180–220 MHz .
As the shell approaches a reflecting object, an interference pattern is
This causes a small oscillation of the radiated power and consequently
the oscillator supply current of about 200–800 Hz, the Doppler frequency.
This signal is sent through a band pass filter , amplified, and triggers the
detonation when it exceeds a given amplitude.
Based on the use of petoscope which is an optoelectronic device for
detecting small, distant objects such as flying aircraft.
modern air-to-air missiles use lasers. They project narrow beams of laser
light perpendicular to the flight of the missile.
Magnetic sensing can only be applied to detect huge masses of
iron such as ships. It is used in mines and torpedoes. Fuzes of this type can
be defeated by degaussing, using non-metal hulls for ships
(especially minesweepers) or by magnetic induction loops fitted to aircraft
or towed buoys.
used a microphone in a missile.
The characteristic frequency of an aircraft engine is filtered and triggers
Naval mines can also use acoustic sensing, with modern versions able
to be programmed to "listen" for the signature of a specific ship.
Pressure wave sensing
Some naval mines are able to detect the pressure wave of a ship passing
Missiles may be targeted in a number of ways. The
most common method is to use some form
of radiation , such as infrared , lasers or radio waves ,
to guide the missile onto its target.
There are two types of guidance system
ii. Another method is to use a TV camera—using
either visible light or infra-red—in order to see the
Some methods of target detection are:-
Laser Guidance - A laser designator device calculates relative position to a
highlighted target. Most are familiar with the military uses of the technology
on Laser-guided bomb. The space shuttle crew leverages a hand held device to feed
information into rendezvous planning. The primary limitation on this device is that
it requires a line of sight between the target and the designator.
Terrain contour matching
(TERCOM)- This method uses a
ground scanning radar to "match"
topography against digital map data
to fix current position. Used by cruise
missiles such as the BGM-109
Infrared homing : This form of
guidance is used exclusively for
military munitions, specifically air-to-
air and surface-to-air missiles. The
missile’s seeker head homes in on
the infrared (heat) signature from the
target’s engines (hence the term
“heat-seeking missile”). 19
It is a position fixing technique that was devised to help sailors.
The Sun is most often measured. Skilled navigators can use the Moon,
planets or one of 57 navigational stars whose coordinates are tabulated
in nautical almanacs.
Long-range Navigation (LORAN) : This was the
predecessor of GPS and was (and to an extent still is) used primarily in
commercial sea transportation. The system works by triangulating the ship's
position based on directional reference to known transmitters.
Wire-Guidance -A wire-guided missile is a missile guided by
signals sent to it via thin wires reeled out during flight.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
GPS was designed by the US military. GPS transmits 2 signal types: military
and a commercial. GPS is a system of 24 satellites orbiting in unique planes
10.9-14.4 Nautical miles above the earth. The Satellites are in well defined
orbits and transmit highly accurate time information which can be used to
Guided missiles use some form of jet power for propulsion.
ATMOSPHERIC JET PROPULSION SYSTEM.—There
are three types of atmospheric jet propulsion systems—the turbojet, pulsejet,
and ramjet engines. Of these three systems, only the turbojet engine is
currently being used in Navy air-launched missiles.
The various methods are as follows:-
The turbojet is the oldest kind of general-purpose air breathing jet engine.
Compared to turbofans, turbojets are quite inefficient if flown below
about Mach 2 and are very noisy.
As a result, most modern aircraft use turbofans instead for economic
reasons, although turbojets are still common in medium range cruise
missiles, due to their high exhaust speed, low frontal area, and relative
Aramjet uses the engine's forward motion to compress incoming air,
without a rotary compressor.
Ramjets cannot produce thrust at zero airspeed, thus they cannot move an
aircraft from a standstill .
Ramjets work most efficiently at supersonic speeds around Mach 3. This
type of engine can operate up to speeds of Mach 6.
Ramjets can be particularly useful in applications requiring a small and
simple mechanism for high-speed use, such as missiles or artillery shells.
They have also been used successfully, though not efficiently, as tip jets on
the end of helicopter rotors.
Ramjets employ a continuous combustion process.
PULSEJET - Apulse jet engine (or pulsejet) is a type of jet engine in which
combustion occurs in pulses. Pulsejet engines can be made with few or
no moving parts , and are capable of running statically. Pulse jet engines are
a lightweight form of jet propulsion, but usually have a poor compression
ratio , and hence give a low specific impulse. One notable line of research of
pulsejet engines includes the pulse detonation engine which involves
repeated detonations in the engine, and which can potentially give high
compression and good efficiency.
ROCKET— Thermal jets include solid propellant, liquid propellant, and combined
Liquid Propellant - Liquid fuel is used in space vehicles and satellites and
that this fuel is put into the tanks of the space vehicles immediately before
launching. A missile cannot wait to be fueled when it is needed for defense
or offense-it must be ready. That is one of the reasons why solid propellants
have replaced liquid propellants in most of our missiles.
Solid Propellant Engines- The combustion chamber of a solid propellant
rocket contains the charge of solid propellant. Solid propellant charges are
of two basic types: restricted burning and unrestricted burning.
HYBRID PROPULSION –
A hybrid engine combines the use of liquid and solid propellants.
The liquid is the oxidizer and the solid is the propellant.
Ignition is usually hypergolic, that is, spontaneous ignition takes place
upon contact of the oxidizer with the propellant.
The combustion chamber is within the solid grain, as in a solid-fuel
rocket; the liquid portion is in a tank with pumping equipment as in a
Combustion takes place on the inside surface of the solid fuel, after the
liquid fuel is injected, and the combustion products are exhausted
through the nozzle to produce the thrust as in other rockets
Liquid Propellant + Solid Propellant Engines = HYBRID PROPULSION
PRINCIPLE OF WORKING
To target the missile by knowing the
location of the target, and using a
guidance system such as inertial navigation
system (INS), TERCOM or GPS.
This job can also be performed somewhat
crudely by a human operator who can see
the target and the missile, and guides it
using either cable or radio based remote-control,
or by an automatic system that can
simultaneously track the target and the
GUIDANCE – It involves guiding the missile to the target
The working of a missile is based on the Newton’s Third Law i.e. Action
and reaction are equal and opposite
The propulsion of a missile is achieved with the help of a rocket engine.
It produces thrust by ejecting very hot gaseous matter, called propellant.
The hot gases are produced in the combustion chamber of the rocket
engine by chemical reactions.
The propellant is exhausted through a nozzle at a high speed. This
exhaust causes the rocket to move in the opposite direction (Newton's
MISSILE AERODYNAMICS - Guided missiles launched from surface
ships have their flight paths within the earth's atmosphere, so it is
important that you understand some basic aerodynamic principles.
Aerodynamics may be defined as the science that deals with the motion of
air and other gases, and with the forces acting on bodies moving through
Guided missiles are classified according to their range, speed, and launch
environment, mission, and vehicle type.
Long-range guided missiles are usually capable of traveling a distance of at
least 100 miles. Short-range guided missiles often do not exceed the range
capabilities of long-range guns.
The speed capability of guided missiles is expressed in Mach numbers. A
Mach number is the ratio of the speed of an object to the speed of sound in
the medium through which the object is moving. Under standard
atmospheric conditions, sonic speed is about 766 miles per hour (Mach 1.0).
Guided missiles are classified according to their speed as shown below:
• Subsonic—Up to Mach 0.8
• Transonic—Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.2
• Supersonic—Mach 1.2 to Mach 5.0
• Hypersonic—Above Mach 5.0
The Department of Defense established a missile and rocket designation
sequence. The basic designation of every guided missile are letters, which
are in sequence. The sequence indicates the following:
1. The environment from which the vehicle is launched
2. The primary mission of the missile
3. The type of vehicle
Examples of guided missile designators common to the Aviation Ordnance
man are as follows:
AGM Air-launched, surface-attack, guided missile
AIM Air-launched, intercept-aerial, guided missile
ATM Air-launched, training guided missile
RIM Ship-launched, intercept-aerial, guided missile
A design number follows the basic designator. In turn, the number may be
followed by consecutive letters, which show a modification. For example,
the designation of AGM-88C means the missile is an air-launched (A),
surface-attack (G), missile (M),eighty-eighty missile design (88), third
modification (C). In addition, most guided missiles are given popular
names, such as Sparrow, Sidewinder, and Harpoon. These names are
retained regardless of subsequent modifications to the original missile.
The external surfaces of all Navy guided missiles , except random and
antenna surfaces, are painted white. The color white has no identification
color-coding significance when used on guided missiles. There are three
significant color codes used on guided missiles and their components—
yellow, brown, and blue. These color codes indicate the explosive hazard in
the missile component. If components are painted blue on a practice missile
and have a yellow or brown band painted on them, the component has an
explosive component that doesn't have a comparable part in a service
TYPES OF MISSILES ON THE BASIS OF MODE OF FIRE
An air-to-air missile (AAM) is a missile fired from an aircraft for the
purpose of destroying another aircraft.
Astra missile of Indian army
F-22A Raptor ,.
An air-to-surface missile (ASM) or air-to-ground missile (AGM or ATGM)
is a missile designed to be launched from military aircraft (bombers , attack
aircraft, fighter aircraft or other kinds) and strike ground targets on land, at
sea, or both.
Silkworm , US .
Storm Shadow by France
An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is a missile designed to counter ballistic
missiles. Ballistic missiles are used to
deliver nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional warheads in
a ballistic flight trajectory. The term "anti-ballistic missile" describes any
antimissile system designed to counter ballistic missiles. However, the term
is used more commonly for systems designed to counter intercontinental
ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Three (SM-3) ,U.S.
missile flight test.
the Prithvi Air Defence(PAD)
Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are designed to incapacitate or
destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Currently, only the United
States, the former Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China are
known to have developed these weapons.
Standard Missile - 3 (SM-3)
Anti-ship missiles are guided missiles that are designed for use against
ships and large boats. Most anti-ship missiles are of the sea
skimming variety, and many use a combination of inertial
guidance and radar homing.
An anti-submarine missile is a standoff weapon including a rocket designed
to rapidly deliver an explosive warhead or homing torpedo from the launch
platform to the vicinity of a submarine.
Ikara dummy missile onboard HMAS
Stuart(DE-48) off the New South Wales
coast. The ship in the distance is a Japanese
Guided Missile Destroyer, visiting for
Australia's Bicentennial Naval
Salute/Bicentennial Naval Review in
An anti-tank missile (ATM), anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), anti-tank
guided weapon (ATGW) or anti-armor guided weapon, is
a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored
Nag missile and
the Nag missile
Aland-attack missile is a naval surface-to-surface missile that is capable of
effectively attacking targets ashore, unlike specialized anti-ship missiles,
which are optimized for striking other ships. Some dual-role missiles are
suitable for both missions.
BrahMos shown on
Asurface-to-air missile (SAM), or ground-to-air missile (GTAM), is
a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other
missiles. It is one type of anti-aircraft system; in modern armed forces missiles
have replaced most other forms of dedicated anti-aircraft weaponry, with
the anti-aircraft cannon pushed into niche roles.
Two SA-2 Guideline
(S-75 Dvina) missiles
in the National
Museum of Military
History in Sofia
Asurface-to-surface missile (SSM) or ground-to-ground missile (GGM) is
a missile designed to be launched from the ground or the sea and strike
targets on land or at sea. They may be fired from hand-held or vehicle
mounted devices, from fixed installations, or from a ship.
RPG-7 with warhead
BGM-71 TOW , variant M220,
SABER. U.S. Army
Awire-guided missile is a missile that is guided by signals sent to it via thin
wires connected between the missile and its guidance mechanism, which is
located somewhere near the launch site.
A Stryker vehicle
crew belonging to
4th Brigade, 2nd
fires a TOW missile
Fort Polk's, Joint
Aballistic missile is a missile that follows a ballistic flight path with the
objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target.
Shorter range ballistic missiles stay within the Earth's atmosphere, while
longer range ones are designed to spend some of their flight time above the
atmosphere and are thus considered sub-orbital.
United States Trident II (D-5) missile
Acruise missile is a guided missile, the major portion of whose flight path to
its target (a land-based or sea-based target) is conducted at approximately
constant velocity; that relies on the dynamic reaction of air for lift, and upon
propulsion forces to balance drag.
Shaurya missile (left) and Brahmos-
II(model) (top) by Government of India.
ANY QUESTIONS ?
GUIDED MISSILES , by - T V Karthikeyan & A K Kapoor ,
Scientists Defense Research &- Development Laboratory,
Hyderabad , Defense Scientific Information & Documentation
Centre (DESIDOC) , Ministry of Defense, DRDO
PRINCIPLES OF MISSILE FLIGHT AND JET PROPULSION
PRINCIPLES OF GUIDED MISSILES AND NUCLEAR
WEAPONS, by BUREAU OF NAVAL PERSONNEL OF U.S NAVY
,Prepared and produced by the U. S. Navy Training Publications
Center under direction of the Bureau of Naval Personnel