The Evolution of the Cruise Missile
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL
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While weapons come and go in the military, history provides examples of classes of weapons having both a dramatic and a lasting impact upon the conduct of warfare. These examples involve weapons which were, at their inception, revolutionary since they were not merely new but clearly superior to equipment already in use on the battlefield. Because they dominated warfare they were crucial to battlefield success and nations possessing and using such weapons effectively were, more often than not, victorious. A class of missile of particular interest, now entering the US inventory, is the cruise missile. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the cruise missile against the criteria suggested above, seeking answers to two basic questions Is the current cruise missile simply another weapon in the now familiar class of aerial munitions Or does it represent a potentially revolutionary class of weapons in its own right These questions, and the answers to them, may well have far-reaching implications, for if the current version of the cruise missile represents not an evolutionary development but a quantum leap forward in weaponry, then US development and employment strategies require significant adjustment.
- Guided Missiles
- Air- and Space-Launched Guided Missiles
- Surface-Launched Guided Missiles
- Underwater-Launched Guided Missiles