Disarmament: A Basic Guide

Third Edition

image of Disarmament: A Basic Guide

International peace and security - and therefore disarmament - stand at the core of the UN mandate. This publication is designed to inform, educate and generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action, and to rally support for it, in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. Intended primarily for the general reader, this basic guide may also be useful for the disarmament educator or trainer. It is published by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in collaboration with the NGO (non-governmental organizations) Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security pursuant to the purposes of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme.

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Missiles and missile defence

Rockets and missiles encompass an extremely diverse class of weapons. A rocket is a self-propelled vehicle without a guidance system (once it is fired it cannot be redirected). Most rockets have a relatively short range and can carry only small payloads. A missile is a self-propelled, guided or unguided projectile designed to deliver a weapon or other payload. Missiles are typically powered by rockets or jet engines. Their range varies from a few hundred kilometres (short range) to more than 5,500 kilometres (intercontinental). Some missiles are relatively crude instruments, while others are highly sophisticated and easily redirected. Their potential payloads range from a few kilograms of conventional explosives to megaton-yielding nuclear warheads.

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