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a device for launching tactical, semi-strategic, strategic, and antiaircraft missiles. The design depends on the class of missile, the type of guidance system, the launch position (vertical or inclined), and other factors.
Missile launchers are subdivided into ground, ship, and aircraft launchers, depending on where the missiles are launched from. Ground launchers may be permanent or mobile. Permanent launchers, including silos, are designed for launching strategic missiles; mobile launchers, using transport systems with excellent offroad capabilities, are used to launch semistrategic, tactical, and antiaircraft missiles.
A missile launcher usually has a base structure on which the other elements are mounted, a guide structure (sometimes several) to direct the missile during the initial flight stage, mechanisms (drives) to control the guide structure, and a launch apparatus. Ship launchers can launch missiles when the ship is under steam or rolling; launchers on submarines can fire from underwater. Missile launchers on aircraft do not have guidance mechanisms; the direction of launch is determined by the attitude of the aircraft.