A V-2 rocket launch by the British during Operation Backfire

In military language, a missile, also known as a guided missile, is a guided self-propelled flying weapon usually propelled by a jet engine or rocket motor. This is in contrast to an unguided self-propelled flying munition, referred to as a rocket (although these too can also be guided). Missiles have four system components: targeting or missile guidance, flight system, engine, and warhead. Missiles come in types adapted for different purposes: surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missiles (ballistic, cruise, anti-ship, anti-tank, etc.), surface-to-air missiles (and anti-ballistic), air-to-air missiles, and anti-satellite weapons. Non-self-propelled airborne explosive devices are generally referred to as shells and usually have a shorter range than missiles. In ordinary language the word means an object which can be thrown, shot, or propelled toward a target.

Early development

V-1 missile

The first missiles to be used operationally were a series of missiles developed by Nazi Germany in World War II. Most famous of these are the V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket, both of which used a simple mechanical autopilot to keep the missile flying along a pre-chosen route. Less well known were a series of anti-shipping and anti-aircraft missiles, typically based on a simple radio control (command guidance) system directed by the operator. However, these early systems in World War II were only built in small numbers.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Missiele
العربية: قذيفة موجهة
asturianu: Misil
azərbaycanca: Döyüş raketi
Bân-lâm-gú: Tō-tôaⁿ
català: Míssil
Cymraeg: Taflegryn
dansk: Missil
español: Misil
Esperanto: Misilo
euskara: Misil
فارسی: موشک
français: Missile
galego: Mísil
한국어: 유도탄
Bahasa Indonesia: Peluru kendali
italiano: Missile
עברית: טיל
Kiswahili: Kombora
Latina: Missile
മലയാളം: മിസൈൽ
Bahasa Melayu: Peluru berpandu
नेपाल भाषा: क्षेप्यास्त्र
日本語: ミサイル
norsk: Missil
norsk nynorsk: Missil
occitan: Missil
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਮਿਜ਼ਾਇਲ
پنجابی: میزائل
português: Míssil
română: Misil
Scots: Missile
සිංහල: මිසයිල
Simple English: Missile
slovenščina: Samopogonski izstrelek
suomi: Ohjus
svenska: Robot (vapen)
Tagalog: Misil
தமிழ்: ஏவுகணை
తెలుగు: క్షిపణి
Türkçe: Füze
українська: Ракетна зброя
اردو: میزائل
Tiếng Việt: Đạn tự hành
Winaray: Misil
吴语: 导弹
粵語: 導彈
中文: 导弹