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guided missile Missile controlled throughout its flight by exterior or interior control systems. There are four types: surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, air-to-air, air-to-surface. The first guided missiles were the V1 launched (1944) by Germany during World War II. Post-war developments included the huge intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), with nuclear warheads and ranges of 10,000km (6000mi). Submarine systems included Polaris and Trident. The multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) – ICBMs with many sub-missiles – were developed in the late 1960s. The cruise missile has wings like an airplane, making it capable of flying at low altitudes.
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