rocket and missile system | weapons system

For the purposes of this article, a skyrocket engine is a self-contained ( i, non-air-breathing ) propulsion system of the type described above, while the terminus rocket refers to any free-flight ( unguided ) missile of the types used since the beginning of rocketry. A guide projectile is broadly any military projectile that is able of being guided or directed to a target after having been launched. Tactical guided missiles are shorter-ranged weapons designed for use in the immediate combat area. Long-range, or strategic, guided missiles are of two types, cruise and ballistic. cruise missiles are powered by air-breathing engines that provide about continuous propulsion along a low, tied flight path. A ballistic missile is propelled by a rocket locomotive for merely the first part of its flight ; for the rest of the flight the unpowered missile follows an arcing trajectory, little adjustments being made by its guidance mechanism. strategic missiles normally carry nuclear warheads, while tactical missiles normally carry high explosives. In a more restrictive sense, rocket propulsion is a singular member of the family of jet-propulsion engines that includes fanjet, pulse-jet, and ramjet systems. The rocket engine is different from these in that the elements of its propellant coal-black ( that is, the fuel and oxidant ) are self-contained within the fomite. therefore, the thrust produced is independent of the average through which the vehicle travels, making the rocket engine capable of flight beyond the atmosphere or propulsion submerged. The fanjet, pulse-jet, and ramjet engines, on the other hand, carry only their fuel and depend on the oxygen content of the air for burn. For this argue, these varieties of k engine are called air-breathing and are limited to operation within the Earth ’ randomness air. Rocket is a general term used broadly to describe a variety show of jet-propelled missiles in which forward motion results from reaction to the rearward expulsion of count ( normally hot gases ) at gamey speed. The propellant jet of gases normally consists of the combustion products of solid or liquid propellants .

Military rockets

Early history

There is no authentic early history of the “ invention ” of rockets. Most historians of rocketry trace the development to China, a land noted in ancient times for its fireworks displays. In 1232, when the Mongols laid siege to the city of K ’ ai-feng, capital of Honan province, the chinese defenders used weapons that were described as “ arrows of flying fire. ” There is no denotative statement that these arrows were rockets, but some students have concluded that they were because the record does not mention bows or other means of shooting the arrows. In the like battle, it is reported, the defenders dropped from the walls of the city a kind of bomb described as “ heaven-shaking thunder. ” From these meagre references some students have concluded that by 1232 the Chinese had discovered black powder ( gunpowder ) and had learned to use it to make explosive bombs ampere well as propellant charges for rockets. Drawings made in military documents a lot later read powder rockets tied to arrows and spears. The propellant jet obviously added to the range of these weapons and acted as an incendiary agent against targets.

In the lapp hundred rockets appeared in Europe. There is indication that their first gear use was by the Mongols in the Battle of Legnica in 1241. The Arabs are reported to have used rockets on the iberian Peninsula in 1249 ; and in 1288 Valencia was attacked by rockets. In Italy, rockets are said to have been used by the Paduans ( 1379 ) and by the Venetians ( 1380 ) .
There are no details of the construction of these rockets, but they were presumably quite crude. The tubular rocket cases were credibly many layers of tightly wrapped newspaper, coated with shellac. The propulsive charge was the basic black powder concoction of finely ground carbon ( charcoal ), potassium nitrate ( potassium nitrate ), and sulfur. The english scientist Roger Bacon wrote formulas for black powder about 1248 in his Epistola. In Germany a contemporary of Bacon, Albertus Magnus, described powder charge formulas for rockets in his record De mirabilibus mundi. The first firearms appeared about 1325 ; they used a shut tube and black powder ( immediately referred to as gunpowder ) to propel a ball, reasonably erratically, over deviate distances. military engineers then began to invent and refine designs for both guns and rockets .
By 1668, military rockets had increased in size and performance. In that year, a german colonel designed a rocket weighing 132 pounds ( 60 kilograms ) ; it was constructed of wood and wrapped in glue-soaked sailcloth. It carried a gunpowder charge weighing 16 pounds. however, the use of rockets seems to have waned, and for the nxt 100 years their use in military campaigns appears to have been sporadic .

The 19th century

A revival commenced former in the eighteenth hundred in India. There Hyder Ali, prince of Mysore, developed war rockets with an important switch : the use of metal cylinders to contain the combustion powderize. Although the forge soft iron he used was petroleum, the explode lastingness of the container of black powder was much higher than the earlier paper construction. Thus a greater internal atmospheric pressure was potential, with a vector sum greater lunge of the propellant jet. The rocket consistency was lashed with leather thongs to a long bamboo stick. Range was possibly up to three-quarters of a mile ( more than a kilometer ). Although individually these rockets were not accurate, dispersion error became less important when large numbers were fired quickly in mass attacks. They were particularly effective against cavalry and were hurled into the air, after lighting, or skimmed along the intemperate dry ground. Hyder Ali ’ s son, Tippu Sultan, continued to develop and expand the use of rocket weapons, reportedly increasing the phone number of skyrocket troops from 1,200 to a corps of 5,000. In battles at Seringapatam in 1792 and 1799 these rockets were used with considerable effect against the british .
The news of the successful use of rockets spread through Europe. In England Sir William Congreve began to experiment privately. First, he experimented with a number of black-powder formulas and set down standard specifications of writing. He besides standardized construction details and used improved production techniques. besides, his designs made it possible to choose either an explosive ( ball charge ) or incendiary warhead. The explosive warhead was individually ignited and could be timed by trimming the fuse duration before launching. therefore, air bursts of the warheads were feasible at different ranges .
Congreve ’ s alloy rocket bodies were equipped on one slope with two or three thin metallic loops into which a long guidebook stick was inserted and crimp firm. Weights of eight different sizes of these rockets ranged up to 60 pounds. Launching was from collapsible A-frame ladders. In addition to antenna barrage, Congreve ’ south rockets were much fired horizontally along the ground .
These side-stick-mounted rockets were employed in a successful naval barrage of the french coastal city of Boulogne in 1806. The following year a mass attack, using hundreds of rockets, burned most of Copenhagen to the ground. During the War of 1812 between the United States and the british, rockets were employed on numerous occasions. The two best-known engagements occurred in 1814. At the Battle of Bladensburg ( August 24 ) the use of rockets assisted british forces to turn the flank of the american troops defending Washington, D.C. As a result, the british were able to capture the city. In September the british forces attempted to capture Fort McHenry, which guarded Baltimore harbor. Rockets were fired from a specially designed ship, the Erebus, and from minor boats. The british were unsuccessful in their barrage, but on that occasion Francis Scott Key, inspired by the sight of the night engagement, wrote “ The Star Spangled Banner, ” by and by adopted as the United States national anthem. “ The rockets ’ red glower ” has continued to memorialize Congreve ’ randomness rockets ever since .
In 1815 Congreve further improved his designs by mounting his guide lodge along the central axis. The rocket ’ s propulsive fountain issued through five evenly spaced holes rather than a single orifice. The forward part of the usher adhere, which screwed into the skyrocket, was sheathed with boldness to prevent burn. The centre-stick-mounted rockets were significantly more accurate. besides, their design permitted launching from sparse copper tubes .
maximum ranges of Congreve rockets were from one-half sea mile to two miles ( 0.8 to 3.2 kilometres ), depending upon size. They were competitive in performance and price with the heavy 10-inch mortar and were vastly more mobile .
The adjacent significant development in rocketry occurred about the center of the nineteenth hundred. William Hale, a british engineer, invented a method acting of successfully eliminating the deadweight of the flight-stabilizing lead lodge. By designing jet vents at an angle, he was able to spin the rocket. He developed versatile designs, including curved vanes that were acted upon by the rocket jet. These rockets, stabilized by means of tailspin, represented a major improvement in performance and comfort of handling .
even the new rockets, however, could not compete with the greatly improved artillery with plunder bores. The rocket corporation of most european armies were dissolved, though rockets were hush used in boggy or cragged areas that were difficult for the much heavier mortars and guns. The austrian Rocket Corps, using Hale rockets, won a phone number of engagements in mountainous terrain in Hungary and Italy. other successful uses were by the Dutch colonial services in Celebes and by Russia in a number of engagements in the Turkistan War .
Hale sold his patent rights to the United States in time for some 2,000 rockets to be made for the Mexican War, 1846–48. Although some were fired, they were not particularly successful. Rockets were used in a specify way in the American Civil War ( 1861–65 ), but reports are fragmental, and obviously they were not critical. The U.S. Ordnance Manual of 1862 lists 16-pound Hale rockets with a stove of 1.25 miles .
In Sweden about the turn of the century, Wilhelm Unge invented a device described as an “ aeriform torpedo. ” Based upon the stickle Hale rocket, it incorporated a number of design improvements. One of these was a rocket motor nozzle that caused the gas flow to converge and then diverge. Another was the practice of smokeless powder based on nitroglycerin. Unge believed that his aeriform torpedoes would be valuable as surface-to-air weapons against dirigibles. Velocity and range were increased, and about 1909 the Krupp armament firm of Germany purchased the patents and a count of rockets for promote experiment .

World War I and after

In the United States, interim, Robert Hutchings Goddard was conducting theoretical and experimental research on rocket motors at Worcester, Mass. Using a steel motor with a sharpen nozzle, he achieved greatly improved thrust and efficiency. During World War I Goddard developed a act of designs of little military rockets to be launched from a lightweight hand launcher. By switching from black powder to double-base powder ( 40 percentage nitroglycerin, 60 percentage cellulose nitrate ), a far more potent propulsion charge was obtained. These rockets were proving successful under tests by the U.S. Army when the Armistice was signed ; they became the forerunners of the bazooka of World War II .
World War I actually saw small manipulation of rocket weapons, despite successful french incendiary antiballoon rockets and a german trench-war proficiency by which a wrestle hook shot was thrown over enemy barbed cable by a rocket with a line attached .
many researchers besides Goddard used the wartime interest in rockets to push experiment, the most noteworthy being Elmer Sperry and his son, Lawrence, in the United States. The Sperrys worked on a concept of an “ antenna torpedo, ” a pilotless airplane, carrying an explosive mission, that would utilize gyroscopic, automatic rifle control condition to fly to a preselected target. numerous flight attempts were made in 1917, some successful. Because of early concern in military use, the U.S. Army Signal Corps organized a freestanding program under Charles F. Kettering in Dayton, Ohio, late in 1918. The Kettering purpose used a gyroscope for lateral control to a preset guidance and an aneroid barometer for lurch ( fore and aft ) see to maintain a preset altitude. A senior high school angle of dihedral ( upward controversy ) in the biplane wings provided constancy about the roll axis. The aircraft was rail-launched. distance to target was determined by the number of revolutions of a propeller. When the preset count of revolutions had occurred, the wings of the airplane were dropped off and the aircraft carrying the bomb load dropped on the target .
The limited prison term available to attack the formidable design problems of these systems doomed the programs, and they never became functional .
As World War II approached, minor and deviate experimental and research activities on rockets and guided missiles were afoot in a number of countries. But in Germany, under great secrecy, the campaign was concentrated. successful flights ampere gamey as one mile were made in 1931–32 with gasoline–oxygen-powered rockets by the german Rocket Society. Funds for such amateur activities were barely, and the society sought corroborate from the german army. The exercise of Wernher von Braun, a penis of the company, attracted the attention of Captain Walter R. Dornberger. Von Braun became the technical drawing card of a little group developing liquid-propellant rockets for the german united states army. By 1937 the Dornberger–Braun team, expanded to hundreds of scientists, engineers, and technicians, moved its operations from Kummersdorf to Peenemünde, a abandoned area on the Baltic seashore. here the technology for a long-range ballistic projectile was developed and tested ( see below Strategic missiles ).

World War II

World War II saw the expending of huge resources and talent for the growth of rocket-propelled weapons .

Barrage rockets

The Germans began the war with a lead in this class of weapon, and their 150-millimetre and 210-millimetre bombing rockets were highly effective. These were fired from a kind of tow and vehicle-mounted multitube launchers, from launching rails on the sides of armor personnel carriers, and, for massive bombardments, even from their pack crates. mobile german rocket batteries were able to lay down heavy and unexpected concentrations of fire on Allied positions. The 150-millimetre Nebelwerfer, a towed, six-tube catapult, was particularly respected by U.S. and british troops, to whom it was known as the “ Screaming Meemie ” or “ Moaning Minnie ” for the eerie sound made by the incoming rockets. Maximum compass was more than 6,000 yards ( 5,500 metres ) .
A five-inch skyrocket with an explosive warhead was developed in Great Britain. Its range was two to three miles. These rockets, fired from particularly equipped naval vessels, were used in intemperate coastal barrage anterior to landings in the Mediterranean. Firing rates were 800–1,000 in less than 45 seconds from each ship .
A development of the U.S. Army was the Calliope, a 60-tube plunge projector for 4.5-inch rockets mounted on a Sherman cooler. The launcher was mounted on the tank ’ south gun turret, and both azimuth ( horizontal direction ) and elevation were controllable. Rockets were fired in rapid succession ( ripple-fired ) to keep the rockets from interfering with one another as they would in fusillade displace .
early conventional rockets developed in the United States included a 4.5-inch barrage rocket with a scope of 1,100 yards and a five-inch rocket of longer range. The latter was used extensively in the Pacific field of war, fired from launching barges against land installations, particularly merely before landing operations ( see photograph ). The firing rate of these flat-bottomed boats was 500 per moment. other rockets were used for fastball lay and demolition. The United States produced more than four million of the 4.5-inch rockets and 15 million of the smaller bazooka rockets during the war .
angstrom far as is known, soviet rocket development during World War II was limited. extensive use was made of barrage, ripple-fired rockets. Both A-frame and truck-mounted launchers were used. The Soviets mass-produced a 130-millimetre rocket known as the Katyusha. From 16 to 48 Katyushas were fired from a boxlike launcher known as the Stalin Organ, mounted on a gunman carriage .

The bazooka

Beginning in mid-1940, Clarence N. Hickman, who had worked with Robert Goddard during World War I, supervised the development of a refine design of the hand-launched rocket. The newfangled skyrocket, approximately 20 inches ( 50 centimetres ) long, 2.36 inches in diameter, and weighing 3.5 pounds, was fired from a steel pipe that became popularly known as the bazooka. Designed chiefly for use against tanks and spike positions at short ranges ( up to 600 yards ), the bazooka surprised the Germans when it was first used in the union african landings of 1942. Although the rocket traveled lento, it carried a potent shaped-charge warhead that gave infantrymen the striking office of light artillery .
The german counterpart of the bazooka was a light 88-millimetre skyrocket launcher known as Panzerschreck ( “ Tank Terror ” ) or Ofenrohr ( “ Stovepipe ” ) .

Antiaircraft rockets

During World War II high-level bombing above the roll of antiaircraft guns necessitated the exploitation of rocket-powered weapons .
In Great Britain, initial campaign was aimed at achieving the equivalent destructive might of the three-inch and late the 3.7-inch antiaircraft gun. Two important innovations were introduced by the british in connection with the three-inch rocket. One was a rocket-propelled aerial-defense system. A parachute and electrify device was rocketed aloft, trailing a electrify that unwind at high speed from a bobbin on the anchor with the object of snagging the aircraft ’ s propellers or shearing off the wings. Altitudes adenine high as 20,000 feet were attained. The other device was a type of proximity fuse using a photoelectric cell and thermionic amplifier. A change in light saturation on the photoelectric cell caused by light reflected from a nearby airplane ( projected on the cell by means of a lens ) triggered the explosive blast .
The alone significant antiaircraft rocket development by the Germans was the Taifun. A lissome, six-foot, liquid-propellant rocket of childlike concept, the Taifun was intended for altitudes of 50,000 feet. The design embodied coaxial tankage of azotic acid and a mix of organic fuels, but the weapon never became operational .

Aerial rockets

Britain, Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States all developed airborne rockets for use against surface deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as aerial targets. These were about constantly fin-stabilized because of the effective streamlined forces when launched at speeds of 250 miles per hour and more. pipe launchers were used at first, but late straight-rail or zero-length launchers, located under the wings of the airplane, were employed .
One of the most successful of the german rockets was the 50-millimetre R4M. The tail fins remained fold until launch, facilitating close load arrangements .
The U.S. achieved great achiever with a 4.5-inch rocket, three or four of which were carried under each wing of Allied fighter planes. These rockets were highly effective against centrifugal column, tanks, parade and supply trains, fuel and ammunition depots, airfields, and barges .
A variation on the airborne rocket was the addition of rocket motors and fins to conventional bombard. This had the effect of flattening the trajectory, extending the range, and increasing speed at shock, useful against concrete bunkers and hardened targets. These weapons were called glide bomb calorimeter, and the japanese had 100-kilogram and 370-kilogram ( 225-pound and 815-pound ) versions. The Soviet Union employed 25- and 100-kilogram versions, launched from the IL-2 Stormovik attack aircraft .


After World War II, unguided, folding-fin rockets fired from multiple-tube pods became a standard air-to-surface munition for ground-attack aircraft and helicopter gunships. Though not angstrom accurate as guide missiles or gun systems, they could saturate concentrations of troops or vehicles with a deadly volume of fire. many land forces continued to field truck-mounted, tube-launched rockets that could be fired simultaneously in fusillade or ripple-fired in rapid succession. such artillery rocket systems, or multiple-launch rocket systems, generally fired rockets of 100 to 150 millimetres in diameter and had ranges of 12 to 18 miles. The rockets carried a variety show of warheads, including eminent explosive, antipersonnel, arsonist, fastball, and chemical .
The Soviet Union and the United States built unguided ballistic rockets for about 30 years after the war. In 1955 the U.S. Army began deployment of the Honest John in western Europe, and from 1957 the Soviet Union built a series of big, spin-stabilized rockets, launched from mobile transporters, given the NATO designation FROG ( detached rocket over ground ). These missiles, from 25 to 30 feet long and two to three feet in diameter, had ranges of 20 to 45 miles and could be nuclear-armed. Egypt and Syria fired many FROG missiles during the first step salvo of the Arab–Israeli War of October 1973, as did Iraq in its war with Iran in the 1980s, but in the 1970s big rockets were phased out of the superpowers ’ front production line in privilege of inertially guided missiles such as the U.S. Lance and the soviet SS-21 scarab.

Frederick C. DurantThe Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica