ICBM - Inter Continental Ballistic Missile

What is an ICBM?

ICBM is the acronym for an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile. As the name suggests, it can travel across a continent and reach the desired target. Any missile whose range is over 3,500 miles or 5632 kilometers is termed as an intercontinental missile

An ICBM being launched
An ICBM being launched


The word ballistic is related to projectiles (in this case, a missile) or their flight. A ballistic missile is one whose trajectory is a high arc. Initially, it is powered and guided, but it descends on its target purely due to gravitational force.

What is the scope of the use of ICBM's?

They are generally used for military purposes. It is highly effective for delivering a payload to a far off land, remotely. The earlier variants of the ICBM's were not very accurate and were mostly used for a wide area of target. However, current day ICBM's can target a pinpoint location from thousands of kilo meters away (5632+, to be precise). 

Though they are generally used to deploy nuclear warheads, ICBM's can be used to deliver a variety of payloads. It can also successfully launch a  multiple independently target-able reentry vehicles (MIRVs). Using MIRVs with an ICBM can enable a country to hit multiple targets with individual payloads using one missile, remotely. There are also Maneuverable Re-entry vehicles, which can, you guessed it, be maneuvered so that it can hit a mobile target after having re-entered from the sub-orbital flight phase.  This is a bit scary to imagine, but it is the truth. However, sufficient technology is present to intercept an ICBM strike. We will read more about it later on in the article.

Platforms for the deployment of ICBM's:

Development for the deployment of ICMB's have come a long way. They can be deployed from both land and sea.


Missile Silo
Missile Silo
From land, ICBM's can be launched from both stationary and moving vehicles. They are generally deployed and stored in missile silos that are present at strategic points according to the geography of the country. They have also successfully been launched from heavy duty trucks and from trains.


ICBM through water
ICBM from submarine
In the sea, ICBM's are generally launched from a submarine. Such ICBM's are called SLBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile). They are typically slower than ICBMs

ICBM Deployment Stages:

ICBM stages
ICBM stages

Stage 1 

It is the boost phase in which the missile gets launched from its initial position. It lasts for about three to five minutes and helps the missile attain an average altitude of 200 to 400 miles.

Stage 2

This is the mid phase and in it, the missile gets follows a sub-orbital flight path, the trajectory of which is an ellipse. In this phase the missile releases its individual war heads and decoys (if any). This phase lasts about 25 minutes.

Stage 3

In this final stage, the missile/ warheads are left to fall freely from an average height of about 100 kilo meters. The speed of impact varies from warhead to warhead but is typically around 7 km/s. This stage is about 2 minutes long.

Countries That Poses ICBM's

  1. USA
  2. Russia
  3. France
  4. U.K.
  5. India
  6. North Korea

Defense Against ICBM's

An ICBM can be intercepted in any of its three stages. Countries like USA, Russia, Israel, India and France have suitable missile defense systems in place. The best of the lot is The Iron Dome. It is closely followed by THAAD of the USA. An ABM or an Anti Ballistic Missile is typically used to intercept ICBM's. To know more about them, clink on the link (ABM).

After having read this article, you can understand the immense threat that an ICBM can pose to world peace if tensions are to rise between nations that poses such deadly technology. It is both remarkable and frightening that man has reached such an advanced level in  warfare. You can fully fathom now the danger this kind of technology can pose when in the hands of a rouge nation. 

Hopefully in the near future, the technology used for an ICBM can be revamped to assist in the field of logistics.

Reference :


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Why Are There Ashtrays Installed On Planes?

Why Are There Ashtrays Installed On Planes?

No smoking in plane - Aircraft Nerds
No Smoking sign on plane - Wikimedia

Anyone who has traveled by air knows that one cannot light a smoke on an aircraft without facing some serious consequences, which include, a fine (up to 5000$) and/or being detained, at the worst, arrested.

So why then are there ashtrays installed on planes you ask?

Well, the answer is fairly simple. Ashtrays are installed on planes so that if there is an event of a passenger or staff lighting one up on a flight, there should be a safe place to put it out.

You may be thinking as to why anyone would go through the trouble of performing such a foolish task, but in reality, there are several instances where passengers have been booked for doing so.
In fact, up until 1990, people could smoke freely on flights without the fear of being prosecuted. So having ashtrays on planes was mandatory.

Even after the ban, it is mandatory to have an ashtray installed on a plane otherwise it is not allowed to take off. The Code of Federal Regulations states that, 
' Regardless of whether smoking is allowed in any other part of the airplane, lavatories must have self-contained, removable ashtrays located conspicuously on or near the entry side of each lavatory door, except that one ashtray may serve more than one lavatory door if the ashtray can be seen readily from the cabin side of each lavatory served

Aircraft Lavatory door Ashtray - Aircraft Nerds
Lavatory door ashtray - Wikimedia

This rule is strictly followed because back in 1982, CAAC FLIGHT 2311, Ilyushin Il-18B  was completely destroyed by a fire that was started by a passengers cigarette. Luckily the fire started when the plane was on the runway and not while it was in the air. Unfortunately, there were several casualties.

Similar to aircraft which crashed due to passenger smoking - Aircraft Nerds
 Ilyushin Il-18B - Wikimedia

So, there you have it. Now you know why every modern day plane comes with an ashtray installed. Next time you’re on a long flight with no good movie running, share this trivia with your co passengers.

Thank you for reading


Types of Slats

Types of Aircraft Slats

Boeing 747 slats - Aircraft Nerds
Boeing 747 slats - wikimedia

We know from my previous post: how slats work. Now in this post let's take a look at different types of slats.

Types of Slats

1. Fixed Slats or Slots
2. Automatic Slats
3. Powered Controlled Slats

Fixed Slats

Fixed slats
Fixed slats - Wikimedia
Aircraft slots - Wikimedia

Fixed slats are also known as slots. These types of slats are fixed at their position. They cannot be moved automatically or pilot cannot control such types of slats. This type of slats can effectively increase critical angle of attack but the biggest problem with this type of flap is a drag. This type of slat increase drag at(in) cruise flight and reduce the efficiency of the aircraft wing.

Automatic Slats

Automatic slats
BF-109 slats  - wikimedia

To overcome the drag problem of the fixed slats or slots automatic slats are used. Automatic slats are completely dependant upon the flow of air for its working. As airflow approaches wing, it gets divided into two parts. The point at which air gets divided into two parts is known as the stagnation point. As the angle of attack of the wing increases, stagnation point moves toward the bottom of the wing and air exerts a force on slats and slats extend automatically without any pilot control. This creates space in between aircraft slats and wing leading edge. Air passes in this space and energizes the air flow at the top of the wing. And delays the flow separation and hence aircraft stalling (stalling of the aircraft).

the disadvantage of this type of slats is such that these slats cannot be controlled by the pilot. The working of such slats is completely depended on the flow of air.

Powered controlled Slats

Powered controlled Slats
Airbus A380 Slats - Wikimedia

To overcome both of the disadvantages of above two slats, Powered Controlled slats are used. these types of slats are powered by electricity or by hydraulic power. Most of the modern aircraft use this type of slats. The pilot can control the position of such slats from the cockpit. Such type of slats has high reliability as compared to other two types of flaps.

Thanks for reading,

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