About World Missile Systems Online

What Systems are Included? 

We have elected to include all systems that are guided and/or perform the same mission as a missile. Earlier the distinction between missiles and unguided weapons was very clear. Missile guidance systems were expensive enough that very few mass weapons had much potential for guidance. The main exceptions were “smart” bombs. Now the distinction is breaking down. Some rockets and artillery shells have trajectory correction systems, akin to simple inertial guidance mechanisms. On the other hand, guided missiles compete with long-range unguided weapons. Often guidance is needed because the earlier weapon was useful only with a mass-destruction warhead (nuclear or chemical) which is no longer considered acceptable. Yet many countries count unguided long-range rockets (FROG and Honest John) as missiles.

The solution adopted here has been to include long-range but not short-range rockets; the break is taken as 25km range. That separates out masses of 122mm barrage rockets. It keeps the NATO MLRS system (which is to be guided in the future). It also keeps the very long-range rockets the Iranians developed as direct counters to the inertially-guided Scud initially fielded by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War.

Guided bombs and shells have also been included. Some laser-guided bombs achieve ranges quite comparable to those of traditional missiles, such as Bullpup or the Russian Kh-23 (AS-7). Paveway III is powered, and is indistinguishable from any other missile. Guided shells such as the Navy’s EX-171 are often rocket boosted. The developers point out, that the role of the gun is increasingly, that of the first missile stage.

Finding An Answer...

There are five ways to find a particular missile or a characteristic common to many.

By System: This is an alphabetical listing of the entries in the database. Each entry will discuss at least one but could be presenting several missiles. If you don’t find the name of the missile you are looking for, go to By Missile Name Cross-Reference.

By Missile Name Cross-Reference: Most missiles have at least one name and a designation, i.e. ESSM, RIM-162. The Russian missile designations are particularly hard to follow. Therefore, to facilitate your access to the information, a missile cross-reference table (over 1600 names and designations) is provided. As mentioned above, more than one missile may be included in an entry. Consequently the cross-reference table may provide the only access to the missile you are seeking.

By Mission: Each missile is typed as having one of eight primary missions.

  • Air Defense
  • Anti-Radar
  • Anti-Ship
  • Anti-Tank
  • Missile Defense
  • Rocket
  • Strategic
  • Surface Attack

This access method allows a complete review of all missiles of a particular type irrespective of the country of development.

By Using Nation: This lists all missiles presently in the inventory of the armed forces as well as missiles under development in the country.

By Missile Characteristic: This is only available to those who elect to subscribe to the full query capability of the system. In this case you can pose questions, such as, list all anti-ship missiles with a range longer than 20nm, or air-launched missiles made by a particular company, or air-launched anti-tank missiles. The questions are endless and that is of course why we are providing you a relational database.