Surface-to-surface missile

Surface-to-surface missile

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A surface-to-surface missile (also known as, 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
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 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
V-1 flying bomb
The V-1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile....

 (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
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 (for example, an RPG-7
RPG-7
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

 or M72 LAW
M72 LAW
The M72 LAW is a portable one-shot 66 mm unguided anti-tank weapon, designed in the United States by Paul V. Choate, Charles B. Weeks, and Frank A. Spinale et al...

 is an anti-tank rocket whereas a BGM-71 TOW
BGM-71 TOW
The BGM-71 TOW is an anti-tank missile. "BGM" is a weapon classification that stands for "Multiple Environment , Surface-Attack , Missile ". "TOW" is an acronym that stands for "Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command data link, guided missile"...

 or AT-2 Swatter
AT-2 Swatter
The AT-2 Swatter is the NATO reporting name for the 3M11 Fleyta MCLOS radio command Anti-tank missile of the Soviet Union.-Development:...

 is an anti-tank guided missile
Anti-tank guided missile
An anti-tank missile , anti-tank guided missile , anti-tank guided weapon or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored military vehicles....

).

Surface-to-surface missiles are usually broken down into a number of categories:
  • Ballistic missile
    Ballistic missile
    A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

    s travel in a high trajectory, motor burns out partway through flight
    • Tactical ballistic missile
      Tactical ballistic missile
      A tactical ballistic missile is a ballistic missile designed for short-range battlefield use. Typically, range is less than . Tactical ballistic missiles are usually mobile to ensure survivability and quick deployment, as well as carrying a variety of warheads to target enemy facilities, assembly...

      : Range between about 150 km and 300 km
      • Battlefield range ballistic missile
        Battlefield Range Ballistic Missile
        Battlefield range ballistic missile is a type of ballistic missile with battlefield range, i.e. less than 100 km.-Specific BRBM's:* Hatf I* OTR-21_Tochka* FROG-7* NASR -See also:...

         (BRBM): Range less than 200 km
    • Theatre ballistic missile
      Theatre ballistic missile
      A theatre ballistic missile is any ballistic missile with a range between and , used against targets "in-theatre". Its range is thus between that of tactical and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The term is a relatively new one, encompassing the former categories of short-range ballistic...

       (TBM): Range between 300 km and 3500 km
      • Short-range ballistic missile
        Short-range ballistic missile
        A short-range ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a range of about 1,000 km or less. They are usually capable of carrying nuclear weapons. In potential regional conflicts, these missiles would be used because of the short distances between some countries and their relative low cost...

         (SRBM): Range 1000 km or less
      • Medium-range ballistic missile
        Medium-range ballistic missile
        A medium-range ballistic missile , is a type of ballistic missile with medium range, this last classification depending on the standards of certain organizations. Within the U.S. Department of Defense, a medium range missile is defined by having a maximum range of between 1,000 and 3,000 km1...

         (MRBM): Range between 1000 km and 3500 km
    • Intermediate-range ballistic missile
      Intermediate-range ballistic missile
      An intermediate-range ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a range of 3,000–5,500 km , between a medium-range ballistic missile and an intercontinental ballistic missile...

       (IRBM) or Long-range ballistic missile
      Intermediate-range ballistic missile
      An intermediate-range ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a range of 3,000–5,500 km , between a medium-range ballistic missile and an intercontinental ballistic missile...

       (LRBM): Range between 3500 km and 5500 km
    • Intercontinental ballistic missile
      Intercontinental ballistic missile
      An intercontinental ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a long range typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery...

       (ICBM): Range greater than 5500 km
    • Submarine-launched ballistic missile
      Submarine-launched ballistic missile
      A submarine-launched ballistic missile is a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that can be launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles each of which carries a warhead and allows a single launched missile to...

       (SLBM): Launched from ballistic missile submarine
      Ballistic missile submarine
      A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

      s (SSBNs), all current designs have intercontinental range.
  • Cruise missile
    Cruise missile
    A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

    s travel low to the ground, motor burns during entire flight, typical range 2,500 km (1,500 mi)
  • Anti-tank guided missile
    Anti-tank guided missile
    An anti-tank missile , anti-tank guided missile , anti-tank guided weapon or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored military vehicles....

    s travel low to the ground, may or may not burn motor throughout flight, typical range 5 km (3 mi)
  • Anti-ship missile
    Anti-ship missile
    Anti-ship missiles are guided missiles that are designed for use against ships and large boats. Most anti-ship missiles are of the sea-skimming type, many use a combination of inertial guidance and radar homing...

    s 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
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 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
International Institute for Strategic Studies
The International Institute for Strategic Studies is a British research institute in the area of international affairs. It describes itself as "the world’s leading authority on political-military conflict"...

also does not define a range for LRBMs, and defines SRBMs as having somewhat shorter ranges than the definition of the Department of Defense.