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How intercontinental ballistic missiles work and send deadly explosive payloads to targets around the world.


A Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched from an underground silo during the Cold War era.


The V-2 (for Vergeltungswaffe 2, "retaliation weapon 2", technical name Aggregat-4, or A-4), was a missile developed by Wernher von Braun and Klaus Riedel as part of a German military research team. Commonly known as the V-2, it was the first combat ballistic missile and the progenitor of all modern rockets, including those used by the U.S. and USSR space programs. Its first successful flight was in 1942, and from 1944 to 1945 over 3,000 V-2s were launched. Photographed at Peenemünde…


The V2 was the first ballistic missile and was a marvel of technology for its time. Developed by brilliant scientist Wehrner von Braun, the V2 could not be produced in enough numbers to change the war, but it could not be shot down and more than 5500 of them rained down on England and Amsterdam during the war causing untold damage and 1000s of casualties. He later brought this expertise to the Apollo moon project and said American Robert Goddard provided the fundamental research for the V2.


Pacific Ocean (June 22, 2006) - A Standard Missile Three (SM-3) is launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) during a joint Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy ballistic missile flight test. Two minutes later, the SM-3 intercepted a separating ballistic missile threat target, launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii.


Von Braun major achievement was the design of the first ever ballistic missile, the V-2 combat rocket which was launched by Germany in 1944 during WWII. After the end of WWII, he and key members of his rocket staff were taken to the USA as part of Operation Paperclip, the American operation to gather key German scientists for use in the USA before they could be captured by the Soviets.


Photo: The Borei class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine Yuri Dolgoruky taking part in a parade marking the Russian Navy Day