Cruise missile

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A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards its target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy. Modern cruise missiles can travel at supersonic or high subsonic speeds, are self-navigating, and can fly on a non-ballistic, extremely low altitude trajectory. They are distinct from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in that they are used only as weapons and not for reconnaissance. In a cruise missile, the warhead is integrated into the vehicle and the vehicle is always sacrificed in the mission.

Cruise missile designs fundamentally derive from the German V-1 of World War II. Advances in transistor and computer technology allowed self-correcting avionic and aeronautical designs that allowed missiles to be guided in flight, as opposed to only at launch. These advances developed into guided missiles and guided bombs, and later into the modern cruise missile.



In 1916, Lawrence Sperry patented and built an "aerial torpedo", a small biplane carrying a TNT charge, a Sperry autopilot and a barometric altitude control. Inspired by these experiments, the US Army developed a similar flying bomb called the Kettering Bug. In the period between the World Wars Great Britain developed the Larynx (Long Range Gun with Lynx Engine) which underwent a few flight tests in the 1920s.[citation needed] In the Soviet Union Sergey Korolev headed the GIRD-06 cruise missile project from 1932–1939, which used a rocket-powered boost-glide design.[citation needed] The 06/III (RP-216) and 06/IV (RP-212) contained gyroscopic guidance systems.

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