Surface-to-air missile


Surface-to-air missile

A surface to air missile (SAM) or ground-to-air missile (GTAM) is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft. It is a type of anti-aircraft system.

Land-based SAMs can be deployed from fixed installations or mobile launchers, either wheeled or tracked. The tracked vehicles are usually armoured vehicles specifically designed to carry SAMs. Larger SAMs may be deployed in fixed launchers, but can be towed/re-deployed at will. The smallest SAMs are capable of being carried and launched by a single person. These types of SAM are also referred to as Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS). Soviet MANPADS have been exported around the world and can still be found in many of their former client states. Other nations have developed their own MANPADS.

Ship-based SAMs are in widespread use. Virtually all surface warships can be armed with SAMs (see list below). In fact, naval SAMs are a necessity for all front-line surface warships. Some warship types specialise in anti-air warfare e.g. "Ticonderoga"-class cruisers equipped with the Aegis combat system or "Kirov" class cruisers with the S-300PMU "Favorite" missile system.

Targets for non-ManPAD SAMs will usually be acquired by air-search radar, then tracked before/while a SAM is "locked-on" and then fired. Potential targets, if they are military aircraft, will be identified as friend or foe before being engaged.

Development of surface-to-air missiles began in Nazi Germany (hard pressed by Allied air superiority) during late World War II with missiles such as the Wasserfall though no working system was deployed before the war's end.

ee also

* List of surface-to-air missiles
* Missile guidance
* List of NATO reporting names for surface-to-air missiles
* Anti-aircraft warfare
* Man-portable air-defence system
* SEAD, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, the mission of finding and destroying SAM and AA gun installations. The SEAD mission in the United States Air Force is designated "Wild Weasel."
* Akash missile

External links

* [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/row/ Rest-of-World Missile Systems] from the Federation of American Scientists website


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • surface-to-air missile — Missile Mis sile, n. [L. missile.] 1. A weapon thrown or projected or intended to be projected, as a lance, an arrow, or a bullet. [1913 Webster] 2. A rocket propelled device designed to fly through the air and deliver a warhead of explosive… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • surface-to-air missile — n a ↑missile that is fired at planes from the land or from a ship …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • surface to air missile — (sam) missile launched from the ground and directed to destroy an airborne target, SAM …   English contemporary dictionary

  • surface-to-air missile — noun a guided missile fired from land or shipboard against an airborne target • Syn: ↑SAM • Hypernyms: ↑guided missile • Hyponyms: ↑MANPAD, ↑Stinger • Part Holonyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • surface-to-air missile — noun A ground based anti aircraft missile. See Also: air to air missile, air to surface missile, surface to surface missile …   Wiktionary

  • surface-to-air missile — /sɜfəs tu ˈɛə mɪsaɪl/ (say serfuhs tooh air misuyl) noun a missile which is designed to be launched from the ground against airborne targets …   Australian English dictionary

  • surface-to-air missile installation — A surface to air missile site with the surface to air missile system hardware installed …   Military dictionary

  • surface-to-air missile envelope — That air space within the kill capabilities of a specific surface to air missile system …   Military dictionary

  • surface-to-air missile site — A plot of ground prepared in such a manner that it will readily accept the hardware used in surface to air missile system …   Military dictionary

  • surface-to-air missile envelope — The airspace within the kill capabilities of a specific surface to air missile system …   Aviation dictionary


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