Military and War Weapons the Guided Missle

About the military and war weapon the guided missle, origins and history of the original V-2, first used in World War II, the use of guided missles today.



Description. The guided missile is a preprogrammed and/or remote-controlled rocket which carries conventional or nuclear bombs. The most common classification of guided missiles is based on the place of launching and the position of the target. Therefore, the different types are air-to-surface missiles (ASM), surface-to-air missiles (SAM), surface-to-surface missiles (SSM), and air-to-air missiles (AAM).

Origin. The first effective guided missile used as a weapon was the German V-2. The research program which developed the V-2 began as a private German rocket club in 1927. In 1931 the members of this club worked for the German army and established a military rocket research program. This new missile project was headed by Dr. Walter Dornberger and his 19-year-old assistant and collaborator, Wernher von Braun. Throughout the 1930s, Dornberger and Von Braun developed a series of rockets, constantly improving the propulsion and guidance systems.

During the early years of W.W. II, at the rocket research center at Peenemunde, Germany, the missile researchers designed and began construction of the A-4, later renamed the V-2. Though his dream was to send rockets into space, Von Braun energetically worked on the V-2 project, inventing an ingenious robot pilot mechanism which guided the V-2 to a target 200 mi. away with a high degree of accuracy, and concocting a rocket fuel propellant--a combination of 9 tons of alcohol and liquid oxygen.

In March, 1943, as the V-2 was nearing completion, work was suspended by Hitler, because in a dream he had envisioned that the V-2 would never strike England. Six months later, Dornberger and Von Braun persuaded Hitler to let them continue with the V-2. But as soon as they resumed work, the British bombed the Peenemunde research station, further delaying the project.

Finally, in the late summer of 1944, the V-2 was ready for launching. A surface-to-surface missile, the V-2 was 46 ft. long and 5 ft. in diameter and weighed 14 tons.

First Use. On Sept. 8, 1944, a mobile launcher carrying the first V-2 pulled into an open field in Holland. Carloads of German army officers, Nazi officials, and scientists soon arrived to watch the takeoff. The V-2 successfully lunged into space, sprouting a flaming yellowish-red tail. Five minutes and 20 seconds later, a British radar operator picked up an object heading for London and flying faster than the speed of sound. Less than five seconds later, the V-2 plowed through houses and drilled into the ground. Its 2,200-lb. warhead exploded and completely destroyed an entire city block in London.

Weapon Today. Since the first V-2, the guided missile has evolved into the most sophisticated and important weapon in the arsenals of modern nations. At present, the U.S. possesses 1,054 land-based and 656 submarine-based intercontinental missiles with nuclear warheads, while the U.S.S.R. has 1,549 land and 842 submarine missiles. The newest American missiles are the extremely accurate Cruise missile, which can fly at treetop level, and the Trident I, a submarine-launched missile which carries a multiple warhead of 10 nuclear bombs.

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