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Synopsis

This is a comprehensive history of the origin and development of the cruise missile, one of the most important weapons in the American arsenal. Contents: Chapter 1 - Introduction * Chapter 2 - The Early Years: To 1941 * Chapter 3 - World War 2 * Chapter 4 - Postwar Developments * Chapter 5 - Us Cruise Missiles Revitalized * Chapter 6 - 1977 To The Present * Chapter 7 - Conclusion.

From the Foreword: The penchant of the American military to be on the leading edge of technology could destroy our perspective of new weapon systems and distort our perceptions of their most effective use in modern warfare. So it is with cruise missiles, one of technology's newest and most sophisticated developments. Dr. Werrell's book provides the perspective and insight we would otherwise lack.

Although cruise missiles are among the newest and most sophisticated weapons fielded by the United States, they possess a rich conceptual and technological heritage. It is important that we understand this heritage as we consider deployment and employment options. It is also important that we understand the developmental process illustrated by the history of the cruise missile. Without the perspective provided by this history, our perceptions of their purpose and use lack depth and insight.

In actuality, the cruise missile, as an operational concept and system, has been around for some time; and very early on inspired rather far-reaching claims. A newspaper account in 1915 called it: "A device . . . likely to revolutionize modern warfare." Before World War I was over, the cruise missile, or the aerial torpedo, as it was then called, was touted as "the gun of the future" and compared in importance with the invention of gunpowder. Billy Mitchell saw it as: "A weapon of tremendous value and terrific force to airpower." The passing of years has not dimmed enthusiasm for the device, a newspaperman in 1977 writing that: "Except for gunpowder and atomic bomb, no weapon has threatened a greater effect on war and peace than the cruise missile." More temperate comments also emphasize its importance. "The advent of the long-range highly accurate cruise missiles," one high official told Congress, "is perhaps the most significant weapon development of the decade." According to Leslie Gelb, a noted defense analyst: "The cruise missile could be an invaluable addition to our security or a dangerous complication."

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