A missile is a self-propelled and guided Projectile, consisted of:
a propellent : rocket motor, engine (generally Ramjet), to see both (a rocket giving the starting impulse, before being relayed by a ramjet)
a guidance system , whether it is external (radio control) or independent (homing).
a payload : it can be a warhead (explosive, flamer, chemical, biological, etc), an electronic system (drone of recognition, scientific or experimental missile) even a simple weight to balance the machine (missile targets), or to transport an inert mass (transporting missile of propaganda of the leaflets)
Remarque: in its initial meaning the term of missile indicated a projectile, whatever it is. This direction is obsolete today but can still be in works dating among the two world wars. The rule generally used nowadays wants that:
However, there exist exceptions, the such projectiles of the multiple rocket launchers which, nowadays, are generally self-directional while preserving the name of rockets, or of the prototypes going back to one period when the electronic systems were much more expensive, fragile and bulky that currently. Such a use of this term is exceptional and, in general, due to a particular historical context (prototype old, denomination which perdure although it became unsuitable).
As of the 6th century of the entertaining rockets or war seem attested in China. At the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th century, rockets with heads explosive or flamer are tested in the European regular armies. The most known model was undoubtedly that of the models known as " of Congreve" used by the English armies. The improvement of the guns during the second part of the 19th century involved the abandonment of the rockets with explosive head. However, of the models illuminant and/or flamers seem to be used.
In October 1914, during the First World War, the German army starts to develop a Biplan armed with Torpille S which will be launched since a Zeppelin. In-flight tests take place in April 1917, but this weapon will never be deployed. During this same war, several observation balloons French were cut down by rockets flamers (what pushed with the adoption of the parachute by the balloon pilots). The French Army used also rockets with powder launched by plane, to cut down observation balloons German.
The first operational missiles of the History were used by the Third Reich during the Second world war. Their development had started in 1932, in a laboratory of Kummersdorf. The first victim of these weapons was the Escorteur Egret of the Royal Navy. Less than two weeks later, in September 1943, when the Italy makes volte-face and wife the cause of the Alliés, a radiocontrolled glide bomb Fritz X, released since a bomber, runs the Linership of 35.000 T Roma of the marine soldier Italian. The effectiveness of these guided bombs was estimated at 40%.
Then came the V1 and V2 German developped at the point in 1944 and used to bombard London and Antwerp. They had been conceived by Werner von Braun. This engineer will go to the American forces with his team. It is him which, after the repeated failures of the Vanguard rockets of the American marine built without its contest, was going to become in the years 1960 the technical father of the American program astronautics (see Opération Paperclip). Two other missiles were developed by Germany during the Second world war: the anti-ship missile Henschel Hs 293 has and the air-to-air missile Kramer X4 while several other projects including four of Ground-to-air missile and a anti-tank Missile was in hand.
The Alliés were very late in this field, only the the United States having brought into service a glide bomb self-directional ( Bat ) in 1945 which was used with some recoveries lasting the Campagnes of the Pacific. After the war the first air-to-air missiles, ground-to-air and ground-to-ground were developed. One can quote some dates:
- the first air victory obtained by a missile intervened when a AIM-9 Sidewinder drawn by a F-86 Saber Taiwan board cut down a Mig-15 Popular republic of China, the September 24th 1958;
- the the USSR cut down an American spy plane U-2 on May 1st, 1960 thanks to its ground-to-air missiles SA-2;
- in October 1962 burst the Crise of the missiles following the deployment of nuclear missiles Soviet with Cuba
- In the years 1970, French industry produced the anti-ship missile Exocet which was made famous between the hands of the Argentine, by running British ships during the Guerre of the Falklands.
- During the War Iran-Iraq, one attended the first massive bombardments of cities by ballistic missiles since 1945, of the Scud S, used by the two parts in conflict.
PropulsionsVarious types of propulsions have summers or are used. Are mainly mixed rockets, engines or machines.
- has solid fuel: it is still the engine more running for the small missiles. In particular individual missiles anti-tank device.
- has liquid fuel: the dangerosity of the fuels and combustive employees was the cause of their progressive abandonment. This type of propulsion is however extremely effective for the sending of " gros" missiles using an even weak average technology. The first successful missile using this propulsion was German V2 of the Second world war.
- Simple flow: tests were carried out after the First World War, given up because of the cost price of such missiles.
- Possibly double-flow or turbofan or model more modern than simple flow.
- Ramjet: the engine currently more running on the missiles. Good market, easy to manufacture and solids, the ramjets became the principal mode of propulsion of the nonsemi-ballistic missiles (a rocket is necessary for the exit of the atmosphere)
- Stato-réacteur " classique" with liquid fuel:
- Ramjet with gas fuel: the fuel is stored in the form of compressed gas (rare because the container is heavy), or of solid products, breaking up into flammable gases when they are heated. Gas fuels mixing better with combustive (air) that the liquid fuels, this systems is more effective at very high speed (Mach 5 and more). This type of extremely fast ramjet is often named scramJet.
- Stato-rocket: the stato-rockets are ramjets with solid fuel. The fuel is deposited on the internal wall of the engine. The food into combustive is done by an air intake, identical to that of a ramjet " classique". The stato-rockets are extremely economic in maintenance. That involves savings in money, of qualified personnel as well as an increased reliability after long periods of storage. Are also sometimes named stato-rocket of the ramjets whose air intakes can be closed, and where combustive (generally of the oxygen stored in liquid form) can be injected. That makes it possible the engine to behave like a stato engine in atmosphere, or the rocket. In 2007, this type of engine in is, generally, at the experimental stage.
- Rocket/Ramjet: this couple of engines is traditional for the ground-to-air missiles, Ground-Sea and Ground-to-ground. The rocket gives to the ramjet the speed which is necessary for him to function, then it is ejected. A contrario, of many Air-to-air missiles, Air-to-sea, Air-Sol are propelled only by one ramjet, the initial speed allowing the ignition of the ramjet being the speed of the plane firing the missile.
The missiles can be categorized according to many criteria.
According to their profile of mission (gun platform and objective):
- Ground-to-ground missile: of a fixed or mobile target on ground starting from a terrestrial gun platform
- Ground-to-air missile attacks: of an air target starting from a terrestrial gun platform
- air-to-ground Missile attacks: of a fixed or mobile target on ground starting from a plane
- air-to-air Missile attacks: of a plane by another plane (aerial combat)
- sea-to-sea Missile attacks: attacks of a ship by another ship.
Only according to their target:
- anti-tank missile: intended to destroy a tank
- anti-ship missile: intended to destroy a Ship
- anti-aircraft Missile: intended to destroy an aircraft (Plane or Helicopter)
- anti-satellite Missile and so on.
According to their range:
- Very short range: a few kilometers maximum
- Short range: a few tens of kilometers maximum
- Long range: until a hundred kilometers
- tactical: a few hundred kilometers
- strategic: several thousands of kilometers
According to their type of flight:
According to their guidance system (see below).
These various categorizations are recut partially and return a classification of the various missiles relatively complex: thus, for example, a sea-to-ground Missile can be either a Ballistic missile or a Cruise missile, and a anti-tank missile is only one specialized version of the air-to-ground Missile.
From a technical point of view, there exist many different guidance systems. They depend on the characteristics of the target and the degree of accuracy which the mission and the ammunition make necessary.
inertial Guidance: first of all used on the long-range missiles (strategic missiles and cruise missiles); it uses a inertial Centrale associating three Gyroscope S (for each axis), which enables them to maintain a course in a prolonged way. However, the gyroscopes being victims of a certain drift on the long distances, one tends to associate today to them a guidance system by GPS to readjust their positioning. Bombs and missiles of last generation implemented by the American army function thus.
topographic Guidance: certain cruise missiles permanently compare the topography of the ground flown over with a beforehand established chart that they keep in memory, thus locating any variation compared to the fixed route.
Laser Guidance : when a high degree of accuracy is necessary (anti-tank missile or anti-bunker), a laser guidance is generally used. The target is enlightened by a laser whose spot is perceived by the system of homing of the missile which is aligned above to ensure the impact.
video Guidance: a Caméra generally allowing a night vision is installed in the nose of the missile and makes it possible to guide the remote missile.
Infra-red Guidance : primarily used by the ground-to-air missiles and air-to-air of short range, an infra-red homing head makes it possible to be fixed on the infra-red radiation emitted by the conduits of the Turboréacteur or the turbomotor of the enemy apparatus. The advantage of this kind of system is its autonomy and its passive operation (it produces only few detectable signals). The range of the detector of Infrarouge S hardly exceeds however a score of kilometers.
- radio operator Guidance: with the filoguidage and the inertial homing, it is the system in the past used. It however was abandoned for military application, its sensitivity to counter measurements electronics (jamming, takeover) returning it can reliable.
optical/astral Guidance: certain missiles semi-ballistic are equipped with a telescope enabling to locate them stars being used as reference mark of navigation. This system is usable only except atmosphere or with very high-altitude, or else it would be possible to fire the missiles only by nights without clouds. Foot-note: this system is always associated with other systems.
Guidance by variation of gravity: certain semi-ballistic missiles were equipped with systems detecting the variation of gravity. The earth's crust not being homogeneous, gravity varies slightly according to the place or one this finds, and not only according to altitude. The study of these variation is a traditional technique of the study of the basement. From the moment or it was possible sufficiently to miniaturize a system of evaluation of gravity, it was possible to make use of this information to guide a missile. One of the difficulties encountered at summer the constitution of charts counting these variations. The possible targets balking to let a potential enemy have access has such information. It should be noted that such systems of measurement of gravity use the attenuation of gravity between 2 superimposed points, and not the calculation of gravity associated with knowledge with altitude. Foot-note: this system is always associated with other systems.
Guidance by detection of the magnetic anomalies: the cause of these anomalies is, there too, the variations of composition and thickness of the earth's crust. Foot-note: this system is always associated with other systems.
Filoguidage : certain short-range missiles (as the missiles anti-tank device) use a guidance by fiberoptic or electric cable. They reel behind them, during their flight, a long wire thanks to which an operator dispatches information to them from the station of shooting, often in order to guide them. The station of shooting generally consists of an optical aiming system operated by a gunner.
Guidance Radar: first of all employed on the ground-to-air missiles and air-to-air of average and long range, which generally have recourse to a guidance active radar (the missile has its own radar then) or semi-active (in this case, the missile uses the radar of the plane launcher). Guidance semi-active radar is used by AH-64 Apache of last generation to guide its missiles anti-tank device, in the place of the filoguidage used until now.
Certain missiles, often anti-ship, use successively several types of guidance: inertial just after their launching, then radar when they located their target. Others are fixed on the electromagnetic waves emitted by their targets (anti-radar case of the missiles). Nowadays, all the missiles having to traverse long distances (ballistics, semi-ballistic, cruising) associate various techniques, complementary from/to each other.
- Text on William Congreve, whose rockets of wars were precursor of the missiles.
- Adoption of the parachutes by the French balloon pilots in October 1915, following the destruction of a balloon by a rocket incendaire.
- missiles of IIIème Reich., article on the site aerostories.
- history of the French tactical missiles their origins with the years 2000 by the Center of the High Studies of the Armament of the Ministry for French Defense, 336 pages
- the use of the conventional cruise missiles: a concept in change by Bruno Gruselle, In charge of research.
- Europe goes from there towards defense anti-missile? by Bruno Gruselle, In charge of research.
- Index of all the existing missiles
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