How Do Guided Missiles Work and How Does the U.S. Military Stop Them?
In today’s world, modern warfare has taken on the look and feel of a video game. With drones flying in the air and missiles being launched from land and sea, there’s no limit to what a military can do with their weaponry. As technology evolves, it’s clear missiles will play an even larger role in war and defense. With precision-guided missiles being used to hit targets smaller and smaller, the development of their system components has become even more specialized. Using chemical reactions that take place inside a rocket engine or jet engine during propelled flight, missiles have four system components that come into play during flight. Along with the flight system, engine, and warhead, it is the targeting or guidance system that determines whether or not a guided missile has a successful mission. Whether it’s a ballistic missile, cruise missile, or other type of guided missile, there are numerous factors involved not only in how they are powered, but also in how the United States military stops them.
When it comes to guided missiles, heavy duty power supplies are used extensively to deliver reliable and accurate performance in the harshest of environments. While many companies worldwide are involved in the production of guided missiles, Abbott Technologies is perhaps best known as the industry leader. Developing high-tech military transformers, the company’s power management solutions are capable of operating at high temperatures for a variety of missile applications. Specifically designed for high-altitude operations, these heavy duty power supplies are encapsulated to withstand vibration, shock, salt spray, and other environmental factors. Whether it’s guided missiles launched from nuclear submarines or a naval destroyer, it’s clear power management solutions such as military transformers play a pivotal role in keeping our nation safe.
Missile Defense Systems
As guided missiles have become a bigger part of modern warfare, various nations have designed missile defense systems in an effort to defend themselves against the possibility of attack. Along with the United States, Russia, and China, France, Israel, and India also have advanced defense systems, enabling them to detect, track, intercept, and destroy incoming missiles from land, sea, and air.
Types of Missile Defense
Because there are various types of guided missiles, defense systems must be able to adapt to changing conditions. With U.S. military missile defense systems, the type of defense mounted depends on a number of factors including the type and range of missiles to be intercepted, when the intercept occurs, and whether it happens inside or outside of Earth’s atmosphere. However, an important point to remember is that in most cases a defense system that’s capable of intercepting one type of missile cannot intercept another type of missile, although today’s technology is beginning to allow for more overlap.
Most guided missiles are intercepted in their trajectory phase, which involves the boost, mid-course, or terminal stage of operations. If a missile is intercepted during the boost stage, most likely it has been intercepted over the launch territory while its rockets are firing. This is viewed as the safest form of intercept by the U.S. military, since it keeps the missile in a limited area and can keep casualties and damage to a minimum. In addition, this offers other advantages. Since the missile is full of propellant at this stage, it’s much more susceptible to explosion, and its rocket exhaust allows it to be detected much quicker. However, the time frame to detect and destroy missiles in this phase is very short, usually no more than three minutes.
Active Layered Missile Defense System
To help protect its NATO allies, the United States military has also developed and put in place an active layered missile defense system. Designed to protect troops from short and medium-range missiles, this system is comprised of many different parts that must all work together to ensure success. Low and high-altitude defenses, including Battle Management Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence, work with early-warning sensors and radar to alert personnel to missile launches, location, and trajectory.
As this area of military warfare continues to grow even more sophisticated, the United States military is relying on computer simulations more and more to help determine how to improve existing missile defense systems as well as develop new ones. Because one of the biggest problems in missile defense involves being able to differentiate between decoys and the actual missile, much development has focused on allowing sensors that are part of the kinetic kill vehicle to have better recognition capabilities. With the world being full of more threats that ever before, the U.S. military realizes the importance guided missiles and missile defense will play in the years ahead. However, with the many brilliant minds at work on this issue, U.S. citizens and those abroad can feel much safer each and every day.
Simon Leggett is a mechanical engineer. He has been analysing the auto industry for over 10 years. He helps in the integration and development of forecast-orientated automotive data to the electronic product portfolio.