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Projectile provided with means for altering its direction after it leaves its launching device. Almost all modern missiles are propelled by rocket or jet engines and have guidance mechanisms, usually including sensors, to help the missile find its target. Heat-seeking missiles, for example, carry infrared sensors that allow them to home in on the exhaust of jet engines.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on guided missile, visit Britannica.com.