The Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle

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A multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle, or MIRV, is one of a collection of nuclear weapons carried on a single intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Using MIRVs, a single launched missile can strike several targets, or fewer targets redundantly. the image below shows three W-78/Mk-12A re-entry vehicles on a Rocketdyne RS-14 post-boost stage, the standard configuration of the Minuteman III. (Not allowed under START-2).

Minuteman III mirv on bus

The military purpose of a MIRV is twofold.

See also Multiple Reentry vehicle, Poseidon missile, Trident missile, Peacekeeper missile.