Intermediate-range ballistic missile

"LRBM" redirects here. For the airport using that ICAO code, see Baia Mare Airport.
IRBM and MRBM missiles.

An intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) is a ballistic missile with a range of 3,000–5,500 km (1,864–3,418 miles), between a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). 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 MRBMs and SRBMs, including any ballistic missile with a range under 3,500 km (2,175 mi).

IRBMs are currently operated by the People's Republic of China, India,[1][2] Israel, and possibly North Korea.[3] The United States, USSR, United Kingdom, and France were former operators.

Specific IRBMs

Date *D Model Range km Maximum km Country
1995 Shaheen 2,500  Pakistan
1959 PGM-17 Thor 1,850 3,700  United States,  United Kingdom
1970 DF-3A 3,300 4,000  China
1976 RSD-10 Pioneer (SS-20) 5,500  Soviet Union
1980 S3 IRBM 3,500  France
2004 DF-25 3,200 4,000  China
2006 Agni-III[4] 3,500 5,000  India[5]
2007 DF-26 3,500 5,000  China
2010 Hwasong-10/RD-B Musudan 2,500 4,000 (not proven)  North Korea[5]
2011 Agni-IV 3,000 4,000  India [6]
2011 Jericho III 6,500 11,500  Israel[7][8]
2012 KN-08  North Korea
2014 Pukkuksong-1/KN-11 500 2000  North Korea


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.[9] 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 World War II 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


  1. "Indian Army Successfully Test Fires Nuke-Capable Agni-IV Missile". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  2. "Ballistic missile Agni-IV test-fired as part of user trial - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  3. "North Korea's Ballistic Missile Program" (PDF). National Committee on North Korea. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  4. DRDO plans early entry of Agni-4 into arsenal. Business Standard (2011-11-17). Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
  5. 1 2 "Ballistic Missiles of the World". MissileThreat. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  6. "Sci-Tech / Science : India to test fire Agni-V by year-end". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  7. "Jericho 3". Missile Threat. 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
  9. "Die geflügelte Rakete ( A7, A9, A4b ) (in German)". Retrieved 2011-07-15.
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