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  • An intercontinental ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a minimum range of more than 5,500 kilometres primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery. Similarly conventional, chemical and biological weapons can also be delivered with varying effectiveness. Most modern designs support multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, allowing a single missile to carry several warheads, each of which can strike a different target. Early ICBMs had limited accuracy that allowed them to be used only against the largest targets such as cities. They were seen as a "safe" basing option, one that would keep the deterrent force close to home where it would be difficult to attack. Attacks against military targets, if desired, still demanded the use of a manned bomber. Second and third generation designs dramatically improved accuracy to the point where even the smallest point targets can be successfully attacked.

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