Ballistic & Cruise Missile Threat   [open pdf - 2MB]

Alternate Title: 2013 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat

"Ballistic and cruise missiles present a significant threat to US and Allied forces overseas, and to the United States and its territories. Missiles are attractive to many nations because they can be used effectively against an adversary with a formidable air defense system, where an attack with manned aircraft would be impractical or too costly. In addition, missiles can be used as a deterrent or an instrument of coercion. Missiles also have the advantage of fewer maintenance, training, and logistic requirements than manned aircraft. Even limited use of these weapons could have devastating consequences because missiles can be armed with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads. The ballistic and cruise missile threat continues to increase with the proliferation of missile technology. Over 20 countries have ballistic missile systems, and missiles likely will be a threat in future conflicts involving US forces. Ballistic missiles have been used in several conflicts over the last 30 years, including the Iran-Iraq war, the Afghan civil war, the war in Yemen, the 1991 and 2003 Persian Gulf conflicts, the Russian military actions in Chechnya and Georgia, and most recently in the conflict within Syria. Although LACMs have not yet been widely proliferated, as many as 20 countries could possess cruise missiles in the next decade. The US Air Force, in cooperation with the other services, is responsible for countering the ballistic and cruise missile threat through deterrence and, if necessary, active suppression. Threat suppression may include attacks on missile systems, both before launch and in flight, and attacks on their supporting infrastructure. This document includes information on some of the major current and projected foreign ballistic and cruise missile systems. Guided cruise and ballistic missiles were first used when Germany attacked targets in England and Northern Europe with V-1 cruise missiles and V-2 ballistic missiles during World War II. Although these missiles were inaccurate, their use resulted in tens of thousands of Allied casualties."

Report Number:
National Air and Space Intelligence Center, NASIC-1031-0985-13
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/
Media Type:
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Listed on June 3, 2009 [Critical Releases]