THE "ULTIMATE WEAPON"?
the start of the Cold War, American and Soviet strategists confronted
the same challenge--how to strike at the heart of an enemy quickly
in the event of war. Both nations began to investigate means other
than piloted aircraft to deliver bombs to distant targets.
first they drew on German weapons technology from World War II,
but the V-1 unpiloted flying bomb was too slow and vulnerable
to enemy defenses, and the V-2 rocket was limited in both accuracy
and range. Technological improvements gradually transformed the
V-1 into the modern long-range cruise missile and the V-2 into
the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
at least five times faster than sound (hypersonic speed) and independent
of signals from the ground, the ICBM seemed to be the "ultimate
the height of the Cold War in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the
B-52 Stratofortress bomber was the mainstay of America's strategic
MISSILES: FLYING BOMBS
rocket technology in its infancy, the United States and the Soviet
Union initially turned to another technology for the ability to
strike a distant enemy: an unpiloted flying bomb, today called a
cruise missile. A cruise missile has wings and an air-breathing
engine; so, unlike a rocket, it cannot operate outside the atmosphere.
Unlike a piloted aircraft, a cruise missile uses an onboard automatic
navigation system to guide it to the target.
German V-1, introduced in combat in June 1944, was the world's first
operational cruise missile. Thousands of pulse-jet powered V-1s,
also known as "buzz bombs," were launched
against cities in Europe. V-1s were slow and inaccurate; they could
be intercepted and shot down.
from the U.S. Air Force
||8.2 m (27 ft)
||5.5 m (18 ft)
||2,200 kg (4,900
||240-320 km (150-200
(airframe), Argus Motoren (motor)