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history of military rockets.
Today, most rockets (missiles) have guidance chips
built into them. These guidance chips help the missile hit its
target with tremendous precision. One of the examples of
today’s missiles is the Aim-9 (Air Intercept Missile 9)
Sidewinder. It is classified as a short-range, air-to-air
There are 9 parts to
the Sidewinder missile: rocket motor, rear stabilizing wings,
seeker, guidance control electronics, control actuation
section, flight fins, warhead, fuse system, and the battery.
motor provides the thrust for the missile, while the
rear stabilizing wings provide the necessary lift to keep
the missile in the air.
control electronics process the information to the control
actuation section, where the flight fins near the nose
of the missile adjust based on the information of the
or flight fins, steer the missile into its target.
itself is the explosive device that actually destroys the
target, while the fuse system detonates the warhead
when the missile hits the target.
The battery provides
power to the missile and all of its components.
Sidewinder has an advanced heat-seeking guidance system.
This seeker locks on the the thermal signature of an
aircraft's engines and follows it until the distance is
small enough that a detonation will prove fatal to the
As you can see, today’s rockets have advanced
tremendously. Nowadays, missiles have guidance chips, fins,
and many other electronics, while the Chinese “fire arrows”
of the 11th century were bamboo poles filled with
black powder. The military missile will continue to progress
in the future, all advancing on ideas of the fathers of
rocketry: Goddard, Tsiolkovsky, von Braun, and Oberth, just to
name a few.