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Intercontinental ballistic missile

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Intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBM's are long-range missiles using a ballistic trajectory involving a significant ascent and descent including suborbital and partial orbital trajectories. An ICBM differs little technically from other ballistic missiles, the IRBM[?], SRBM[?] or the newly named theatre ballistic missile[?]; all are defined in terms of maximum range.

Modern ICBMs typically deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV), each of which carries a nuclear weapon warhead and allows a single launched missile to strike a handful of targets. MIRV was an outgrowth of the rapidly shrinking size and weight of modern warheads. It also proved to be an "easy answer" to the deployment of ABM systems – it was less expensive to add more warheads to an existing missile than build the missiles to shoot down the additional warheads.

The low flying, guided cruise missile is an alternative to ballistic missiles.

Specific types of US ballistic missiles include:

Specific types of Soviet/Russian ICBMs include:

Specific types of ballistic missile submarines include:

See also: SLBM, Anti-ballistic missile, Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, nuclear disarmament, nuclear warfare, submarine



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