By Nate Daniels
Guided missiles are one of the most destructive weapons on earth. They are made in different sizes from 4 feet to a 60 foot missile which can fly one-third of the way around the world and destroy its target. These missiles are made to destroy cities, airplanes, other missiles, or anything else that is its target. Some of these missiles are guided by a computer inside them or laser beams, and some of them are guided by people radioing them directions. In order to have the least amount of air resistance (drag) most missiles are long and skinny. These missiles are powered by a jet or rocket engine which enables them to go at very fast speed. Some of the main parts of a guided missile are the warhead, the engine, guidance and control systems and launching equipment.
The warhead is the part of the missile that explodes and destroys when in contact with its target. Some of these missiles destroy a target by intense amount of air pressure, and others shoot out shrapnel when they explode. Some missiles are made to go into a building or underground and explode. My favorite kinds of guided missiles are the Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRV’s) which have several nuclear warheads that can be launched toward several targets. When the missile is nearing the end of its path of flight, the nuclear warheads detach themselves from the missile and fly off to their designated targets.
The engine of a guided missile is usually powered by a rocket engine. This engine has forward thrust by expelling the burned gases from the combustion chamber through the nozzle. A rocket engine burns chemicals called propellants, there are two different kinds called solid propellants and liquid propellants. Fuel and oxidizer make up the propellants of a rocket engine, the fuel enables the burning of the chemicals and the oxidizer enables the fuel to burn by giving it oxygen. In order to burn the propellants in a liquid propellant using rocket engine, the propellants are pumped into the combustion chamber so that they may burn. One of the differences between a jet engine and a rocket engine are that a rocket engine can fly in outer space because it has oxidizer to burn the fuel by giving it oxygen.
There are fewer missiles powered by a jet engine than a rocket engine. A jet engine uses fuel but does not have oxidizer because it uses the oxygen from the air through an air inlet. A jet engine missile can usually fly farther than a rocket engine because it does not carry oxidizer which enables it to have more room for fuel. A jet engine missile cannot fly in outer space because it does not carry any oxidizer to burn the fuel like the rocket engine missile does. The reason a jet engine missile cannot fly in outer space is because there is not much oxygen in outer space for it to burn its fuel through its air