An intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) is a ballistic missile with a range of 1,000–5,500 km (621–3,418 miles), between a medium-range ballistic missile and an intercontinental ballistic missile. Classifying ballistic missiles by range is done mostly for convenience, in principle there is very little difference between a low-performance ICBM and a high-performance IRBM. The range definition used here is used within the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Some other sources include an additional category, the long-range ballistic missile (LRBM), to describe missiles with a range between IRBMs and true ICBMs. The more modern term theater ballistic missile encompasses IRBMs, MRBMs and SRBMs, including any ballistic missile with a range under 3,500 km (2,175 mi).
IRBMs are currently operated by India, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Some other countries, such as Iran and North Korea, are said to be developing them. The United States, USSR, People's Republic of China, United Kingdom, and France were former operators.
Specific IRBMs[edit | edit source]
- Agni-IV (3000–4000 km) India 
- Agni-III (3,500–5,000 km) India
- Jericho-IIB (2800 km) Israel
- Musudan (2500–4000 km)(not proven) North Korea
- Shahab-5 (3000–5000 km) (not proven) Iran
- Shahab-6 (Toqyān) (3000–5000 km) (not proven) Iran
- RSD-10 Pioneer (SS-20) (5500 km) Soviet Union
- DF-3A (2810 km) China, Saudi Arabia
- DF-3 (2500 km) China China
- S2 IRBM (2750 km) France
- S3 IRBM (3500 km) France
- PGM-17 Thor (1850 – 3700 km) USA and UK
- Polaris A-3 missile (2500 km) USA and UK
- Poseidon C3 missile (5000 km) USA
- Hera (1100 km) USA
History[edit | edit source]
The progenitor for the IRBM was the A4b rocket winged for increased range and based on the famous V-2 (Vergeltung, or "Reprisal", officially called A4) rocket designed by Wernher von Braun widely used by Nazi Germany at the end of World War II to bomb English and Belgian cities. The A4b was the prototype for the upper stage of the A9/A10 rocket. The goal of the program was to build a missile capable of bombarding New York when launched in France or Spain (see Amerika Bomber). A4b rockets were tested a few times in December 1944 and January and February 1945. All of these rockets used liquid propellant. The A4b used an inertial guidance system, while the A9 would have been controlled by a pilot. They started from a non-mobile launch pad.
Following WWII von Braun and other lead Nazi scientists were secretly transferred to the United States to work directly for the U.S. Army through Operation Paperclip developing the V-2 into the weapon for the United States.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
- Medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)
- Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
- Submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)
- Anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM)
- Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
References[edit | edit source]
- "Sci-Tech / Science : India to test fire Agni-V by year-end". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2011-06-03. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/article2073999.ece. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
- DRDO plans early entry of Agni-4 into arsenal. Business Standard (2011-11-17). Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
- "Ballistic Missiles of the World". MissileThreat. http://www.missilethreat.com/missilesoftheworld/pageID.134/default.asp. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
- Carus, Seth and Zakheim, Dov (1998-04-06). "Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States". Fas.org. http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/missile/rumsfeld/pt1_africa.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
- IMINT & Analysis: Saudi Arabia's Ballistic Missile Force. Geimint.blogspot.com (2009-02-10). Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
- "Die geflügelte Rakete ( A7, A9, A4b ) (in German)". V2werk-oberraderach.de. http://www.v2werk-oberraderach.de/Irrtuemer/5-I.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
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