An explanation of what ballistic missiles are, how to defend against them, and the fundamental issues which drive the debate over whether or not to defend America.
- What is a Ballistic Missile?
- Physics of Ballistic Missiles
- Range, Accuracy, and Warheads A missile’s effectiveness as a weapon is contingent upon range, accuracy, and the nature of the warhead it delivers.
- The Stages of a Ballistic Missile’s Flight Although it is possible to intercept a ballistic missile at any phase of its flight path, including the boost phase, midcourse, and as the warhead begins its terminal descent, but each phase also involves a particular set of vulnerabilities which require different forms of defense. The different requirements for the different phases are what make necessary a “layered” defense.
- The Materials Ballistic Missiles are Made of
- General Principles of Missile Defense A detailed description of each of the four components of missile defense—detection, discrimination, fire control, and the actual killing—as they apply to intercepting a missile during each of the four “phases” of the missile’s flight: boost phase, post-boost phase, midcourse, and terminal phase.
- The Opposition to Missile Defense Missile Defense has been opposed for many reasons. This section gives especial attention to the arguments for Mutual Assured Destruction and “strategic stability.”
- What Happens to a Missile or Warhead when Struck During the Boost Phase Ballistic missiles are their most vulnerable during the boost phase.