A cruise missile is basically a small, pilotless airplane. Cruise missiles have an 8.5-foot (2.61-meter) wingspan, are powered by turbofan engines and can fly 500 to 1,000 miles (805 to 1,610 km) depending on the configuration. A cruise missile's job in life is to deliver a 1,000-pound (450-kg) high-explosive bomb to a precise location -- the target. The missile is destroyed when the bomb explodes. Cruise missiles come in a number of variations and can be launched from submarines, destroyers or aircraft.
Tomahawk Cruise missile
An unmanned self-propelled guided vehicle that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path and whose primary mission is to place an ordnance or special payload on a target. This definition can include unmanned air ve-hicles (UAVs) and unmanned control-guided helicopters or aircraft.
In 1916, Lawrence Sperry patented and built an "aerial torpedo", a small biplane carrying a TNT charge, a Sperry autopilot and a barometric altitude control. Inspired by these experiments, the US Army developed a similar flying bomb called the Kettering Bug. In the period between the World Wars the United Kingdom developed the Larynx (Long Range Gun with Lynx Engine) which underwent a few flight tests in the 1920s. In the Soviet Union, Sergey Korolev headed the GIRD-06 cruise missile project from 1932?1939, which used a rocket-powered boost-glide design. The 06/III (RP-216) and 06/IV (RP-212) contained gyroscopic guidance systems.
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