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Missile Survey: Ballistic and Cruise Missiles of Selected Foreign Countries

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Congressional rept.

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This report provides a current summary of ballistic and cruise missile activity in selected countries and discusses implications for U.S. national security policy. The Defense Threat Reduction Agencys Weapons of Mass Destruction Terms of Reference Handbook defines a ballistic missile as a missile that is guided during powered flight and unguided during free flight when the trajectory that it follows is subject only to the external influences of gravity and atmospheric drag and a cruise missile as a long-range, low-flying guided missile that can be launched from air, sea, and land. Ballistic and cruise missile development and proliferation continue to pose a threat to U.S. national security interests both at home and abroad. Approximately 35 countries currently possess operational ballistic missiles of various ranges and approximately 25 countries have operational cruise missiles with a range greater than 150 km 90 miles. Some analysts consider cruise missile proliferation to be of more concern than that of ballistic missile proliferation, primarily due to their low threshold of use, availability, affordability, and accuracy. This report will be updated annually. With the fall of Iraq and the voluntary termination of Libyas ballistic missile program, many view North Korean and Iranian missile and WMD programs as the primary rogue nation long-range ballistic missile threat to U.S. national security. Russia and China continue to be the only two countries that could conceivably attack the United States with intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear weapons, but improved relationships with both countries have done a great deal to diminish this threat over past decades. Indias and Pakistans ongoing missile development programs are viewed by many as highly aggressive and even provocative, but are generally viewed in a regional context as opposed to a direct threat to the United States.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Intelligence
  • Air- and Space-Launched Guided Missiles
  • Surface-Launched Guided Missiles

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