Surface-to-surface missile

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A surface-to-surface missile (SSM) or ground-to-ground missile (GGM) [1] 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. They are often powered by a rocket engine 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 use body lift or fly a ballistic trajectory. The V-1 flying bomb was the first operational 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).

Examples of surface-to-surface missile include the MGM-140 ATACMS, the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) [2] [3] [4] and the Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF). [5] [6] [7]



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

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 used by the Department of Defense.

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Anti-ballistic missile Surface-to-air missile designed to counter ballistic missiles

An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is a surface-to-air 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" is a generic term conveying a system designed to intercept and destroy any type of ballistic threat; however, it is commonly used for systems specifically designed to counter intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Cruise missile Guided missile with precision targeting capabilities and multiple launch platforms

A cruise missile is a guided missile used against terrestrial or naval targets that remains in the atmosphere and flies the major portion of its flight path at approximately constant speed. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high precision. Modern cruise missiles are capable of travelling at high subsonic, supersonic, or hypersonic speeds, are self-navigating, and are able to fly on a non-ballistic, extremely low-altitude trajectory.

Intercontinental ballistic missile Ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 kilometres

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with a minimum range of 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery. Conventional, chemical, and biological weapons can also be delivered with varying effectiveness, but have never been deployed on ICBMs. Most modern designs support multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), allowing a single missile to carry several warheads, each of which can strike a different target. Russia, the United States, China, France, India, the United Kingdom, and North Korea are the only countries known to have operational ICBMs; Israel is believed to possess them as well.

Missile Self-propelled guided weapon system

In military terminology, a missile is a guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usually by a jet engine or rocket motor. Missiles are thus also called guided missiles or guided rockets. Missiles have five system components: targeting, guidance system, flight system, engine and warhead. Missiles come in types adapted for different purposes: surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, air-to-air missiles, and anti-satellite weapons.

Ballistic missile Missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath

A ballistic missile uses projectile motion to deliver warheads on a target. These weapons are guided only during relatively brief periods—most of the flight is unpowered. Short-range ballistic missiles stay within the Earth's atmosphere, while intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are launched on a sub-orbital flight.

M142 HIMARS American artillery rocket system

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a light multiple rocket launcher developed in the late 1990s for the United States Army and mounted on a standard United States Army M1140 truck frame.

MGM-140 ATACMS U.S. rocket artillery fired tactical ballistic missile

The MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is a surface-to-surface missile (SSM) manufactured by the U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin. It has a range of up to 190 miles (300 km), with solid propellant, and is 13 feet (4.0 m) high and 24 inches (610 mm) in diameter.

Intermediate-range ballistic missile Ballistic missile with a range of 3,000–5,500 km

An intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) is a ballistic missile with a range of 3,000–5,500 km, between a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Classifying ballistic missiles by range is done mostly for convenience; in principle there is very little difference between a low-performance ICBM and a high-performance IRBM, because decreasing payload mass can increase range over ICBM threshold. The range definition used here is used within the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Some other sources include an additional category, the long-range ballistic missile (LRBM), to describe missiles with a range between IRBMs and true ICBMs. The more modern term theatre ballistic missile encompasses MRBMs and SRBMs, including any ballistic missile with a range under 3,500 km (2,175 mi).

Short-range ballistic missile Ballistic missile with a range of about 1,000 kilometres

A short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) is a ballistic missile with a range of about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) or less. In past and potential regional conflicts, these missiles have been and would be used because of the short distances between some countries and their relative low cost and ease of configuration. In modern terminology, SRBMs are part of the wider grouping of theatre ballistic missiles, which includes any ballistic missile with a range of less than 3,500 km.

BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missile Long-range, all-weather, subsonic tactical/strategic cruise missile

The Ground Launched Cruise Missile, or GLCM, was a ground-launched cruise missile developed by the United States Air Force in the last decade of the Cold War and disarmed under the INF Treaty.

MGM-52 Lance 1970s short-range ballistic missile of American origin

The MGM-52 Lance was a mobile field artillery tactical surface-to-surface missile system used to provide both nuclear and conventional fire support to the United States Army. The missile's warhead was developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It was replaced by MGM-140 ATACMS, which was initially intended to likewise have a nuclear capability during the Cold War.

RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 Kinetic surface-to-air missile (Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System)

The RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) is a ship-based surface-to-air missile system used by the United States Navy to intercept short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles as a part of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. Although primarily designed as an anti-ballistic missile, the SM-3 has also been employed in an anti-satellite capacity against a satellite at the lower end of low Earth orbit. The SM-3 is primarily used and tested by the United States Navy and also operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Korean Peoples Army Strategic Force Branch of North Koreas army which operates ballistic and nuclear missiles

The Korean People's Army Strategic Force, previously known as the Korean People's Army Strategic Rocket Force and as the Missile Guidance Bureau, is a military branch of the Korean People's Army that oversees North Korea's nuclear and conventional strategic missiles. It is mainly armed with surface-to-surface missiles of domestic design as well as older Soviet and Chinese models. The KPA Strategic Force was established in 1999 when several missile units under KPA Ground Force Artillery Command were re-organized into a single missile force reporting directly to the office of the Supreme Commander of the KPA via the General Staff.

Prahaar (missile) Tactical ballistic missile

Prahaar ("Strike") is an Indian solid-fuel road-mobile tactical ballistic missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Prahaar is expected to replace the Prithvi-I short-range ballistic missile in Indian service.

Project Wizard

Project Wizard was a Cold War-era anti-ballistic missile system to defend against short and medium-range threats of the V-2 rocket type. It was contracted by the US Army Air Force in March 1946 with the University of Michigan's Aeronautical Research Center (MARC). A similar effort, Project Thumper, started at General Electric.

The KTSSM is a tactical ballistic missile developed by South Korea.

KN-24, officially the Hwasongpho-11Na(Korean: 《화성포-11나》형; Hanja: 火星砲 11나型; lit. Mars Artillery Type 11Na), is a designation given to a North Korean single-stage, solid-fueled tactical ballistic missile.


  1. "The world's top air-to-surface missiles". November 2019.
  2. Mehta, Aaron (10 March 2015). "Boeing, Saab Unveil Ground Launched SDB". Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  3. "Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB)". Archived from the original on 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  4. "Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB)". Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  5. Osborn, Kris (6 September 2016). "US Army's New Ground-Launched Missile: Raining Down Death from 500 Kilometers Away". Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  6. Raytheon to offer new missile design for US Army's Long-Range Precision Fires requirement -, 17 March 2016
  7. Raytheon to help Army develop new long-range artillery rocket for battlefield fire-support -, 16 March 2016
  8. "Roketsan - KARA ATMACA Surface-To-Surface Cruise Missile".
  9. "The Army Plans to Fire Its Version of the Navy's SM-6 Missile from This Launcher". 13 October 2021.