Surface-to-surface missile

Surface-to-surface missile

A surface-to-surface missile (also, ground-to-ground missile, SSM or GTGM) is a guided projectile launched from a hand-held, vehicle mounted, trailer mounted or fixed installation or from a ship. They are often powered by a rocket motor or sometimes fired by an explosive charge, since the launching platform is typically stationary or moving slowly. They usually have fins and/or wings for lift and stability, although hyper-velocity or short-ranged missiles may utilise body lift or fly a ballistic trajectory. The Fieseler Fi 103 (also known as the "V1" was the first surface-to-surface missile.

Contemporary surface-to-surface missiles are usually guided. An unguided surface-to-surface missile is usually referred to as a rocket (for example, an RPG-7 or M72 LAW is an anti-tank rocket whereas a BGM-71 TOW or AT-2 Swatter is an anti-tank guided missile).

Surface-to-surface missiles are usually broken down into a number of categories:

* ballistic missiles travel in a high trajectory, motor burns out partway through flight
** tactical SSMs are usually short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), <1,000 km (600 mi)
** strategic SSMs are usually:
*** medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs), 1,000–3,000 km (600-2,000 mi)
*** intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs), 3,000–4,800 km (2,000-3,000 mi)
*** long-range ballistic missiles (LRBMs), 4,800-8,000 km (3,000–5,000 mi)
*** intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), >8,000 km (5,000 mi)
*** submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), various ranges
* cruise missiles travel low to the ground, motor burns during entire flight, typical range 2,500 km (1,500 mi)
* anti-tank guided missiles travel low to the ground, may or may not burn motor throughout flight, typical range 5 km (3 mi)
* anti-ship missiles travel low over the ground and sea, often pop up or jink before striking ship, typical range 130 km (80 mi)

Different parties break down missile type by the range differently. For example, the United States Department of Defense has no definition for LRBM, and thus defines an ICBM as those missiles with ranges greater than 5,500 km (3500 mi). The International Institute for Strategic Studies also does not define a range for LRBMs, and defines SRBMs as having somewhat shorter ranges than the definition f the Department of Defense.

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