||This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2010)|
In military parlance, powered munitions are broadly categorised as follows:
- A powered, unguided munition is known as a rocket.
- A powered, guided munition that travels through the air or space is known as a missile (or guided missile.)
- Powered munitions that travel through water are called torpedoes.
However, the distinction can become somewhat blurred, especially where a weapon begins as an unguided rocket and is then fitted with a guidance system - e.g. the GMLRS system is still referred to as rocket artillery, despite employing guided munitions.
Early development 
The use of rockets as some form of artillery dates back to medieval China where devices such as fire arrows were used (albeit mostly as a psychological weapon), and gradually spread to Europe and the Middle East. Rockets became a significant weapon during the 20th Century, when precise manufacturing processes made relatively accurate rockets possible.
Basic roles 
Rockets are widely used as an artillery weapon, due to their simplicity and the ability of a launch platform to fire multiple rockets in a very short space of time – unlike gun-based artillery, which typically carries a single, heavy barrel and must be reloaded for each shot, multiple rocket launchers can typically fire their entire ammunition supply in a matter of seconds. This rate of fire is very useful as it allows little time for the target to take cover or get away, and allows the artillery unit to shoot-and-scoot, avoiding enemy counter-battery fire.
With the invention of the tank, the infantry required a weapon to counter the threat. Tank armour soon developed beyond the point at which an anti-tank rifle could practically be carried by an infantryman, and by the Second World War rocket weapons such as the US bazooka and German Panzerschreck were in service. Development continued after the war, with weapons such as the RPG-7, although a need to increase range lead to the development of guided weapons to fulfill the anti-tank role.
The use of anti-tank weapons to attack buildings and other targets has led to the development of weapons and ammunition designed specifically to attack non-tank targets, such as the one-shot LASM and the larger SMAW.
Unguided rockets have been launched from aircraft since the early 20th century, to attack land, sea and air targets. Even after the development of guided missiles, rockets remain useful for short-range attacks – typically for close air support missions.
- Definition in wiktionary
- . British Army http://army.mod.uk/equipment/artillery-air-defence/1512.aspx. Retrieved 2010-12-13. Missing or empty