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Global Guide to Nuclear Missiles

ACM—Advanced Cruise Missile. ACMs have stealth technology and high accuracy. See also cruise missile.

ALCM—Air/Land Cruise Missile. ALCMs can be launched in the air or from land. See also cruise missile.

Cold launch - Cold-launch missiles use cryogenic propellants, which are very cold, liquefied gasses, as fuel.

Cruise missile - An intermediate-range missile (3,000-5,500 kilometers) that sustains flight through the use of aerodynamic lift. Cruise missiles may carry either a nuclear or conventional warhead and be launched from the air, ground, or sea.

Gravity bomb—Sometimes called a "city buster," the gravity bomb is an earth-penetrating weapon capable of taking out underground targets through brute force.

ICBM—Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. ICBMs have a range of over 5,500 kilometers.

Inertial guidance - Inertially guided missiles use the law of inertia to fly to their targets from the launch site. Although there is no contact between the launching site and the missile after launch, the inertially guided missile can make corrections to its flight path with amazing precision using meters that sense air currents, altitude, and speed.

IRBM—Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. IRBMs have a range of 3,000 to 5,500 kilometers.

Liquid fuel—Rocket engines that burn liquid fuel store two liquid chemicals, a fuel and an oxidizer.

MIRV—Multiple Independently-launched Re-entry Vehicles. MIRV missiles can carry up to ten independently targeted warheads.

NPT—Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons

PBV—Post-Boost Vehicle. The post-boost vehicle system is made up of a maneuvering rocket and a guidance and control system. The vehicle rides on top of the boost system and guides the missile after it has been launched, or boosted.

Solid fuel—Solid fuel rockets are combustion-chamber tubes packed with a solid-form propellant that contains both fuel and oxidizer.

SLBM—Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile.

SRAM—Short Range Attack Missile. SRAMs have a range of up to 1,000 kilometers.

Stellar-aided guidance—Stellar-guided missiles move according to a predetermined path, during which the missile's course is adjusted continuously by reference to the stars.

Terminal guidance—Many missiles are programmed to hit a precise target before they are launched. Missiles with terminal guidance are not pre-programmed and are precision-guided by remote control only as they approach a target area.

Terrain-mapping guidance—Terrain-mapping guidance, also called TerCom guidance, allows a missile to match a picture of the terrain in its "brain" (with the target marked on it) with a picture of the terrain that it generates in flight for high accuracy.

Turbofan propulsion—Missiles with turbofan propulsion use a large fan, similar to a jet-engine fan, to move through the air. Cruise missiles have turbofan propulsion.

TerCom guidance—Terrain-Comparison guidance, also called terrain-mapping guidance, allows a missile to match a picture of the target terrain in its "brain" with a picture of the terrain that it generates in flight for high accuracy.

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