A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a ballistic trajectory with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. Long range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) are launched on a sub-orbital flight trajectory and spend most of their flight out of the atmosphere. Shorter range ballistic missiles stay within the Earth's atmosphere.

Fictional ballistic missiles of various kinds have appeared in the James Bond franchise, beginning with the eponymous Moonraker rocket of Ian Fleming's third James Bond novel, Moonraker. Continuation author Raymond Benson also included a nuclear ballistic missile in his 1998 novel The Facts of Death. Later, the Eon Productions' James Bond film series would depict ballistic missiles in their adaptations of Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). ICBMs have also featured in the James Bond video games James Bond 007 (1998), Agent Under Fire (2001), Nightfire (2002), Everything or Nothing (2004) and From Russia with Love (2005).

Literary appearances

Moonraker (novel)

Moonraker (rocket) - Great Pan Paperback cover (1)

The Moonraker rocket.

Main articles: Moonraker (Rocket)

The Moonraker was a fictional rocket modelled on the Second World War German V-2 rocket and equipped with a Soviet-designed nuclear warhead. The weapon was featured in the third James Bond novel, Moonraker. The Moonraker was being constructed by Sir Hugo Drax, allegedly for the British government. In reality Drax planned to launch the rocket into the heart of London.

The Facts of Death

In 1986, twelve years prior to the events of The Facts of Death, Brigadier General Dimitris Georgiou, a Greek military officer and Number Five of a mathematic cult called The Decada, stole an American-made solid-fueled two-stage ballistic missile - the Pershing 1a, or MGM-31A - from a NATO base in France. Nearly thirty-five feet long with a three-and-a-half-foot diameter, it has a range of 100 to 460 miles, and is one of the most successful mobile nuclear missiles ever created. The Decada intended to start a major war between Greece and Turkey by launching the weapon from Greece into Istanbul; equipping it with a nuclear warhead procured through a Russian mafia contact, Number Four.

Film appearances

The Spy Who Loved Me (film)

Video-game appearances

James Bond 007

Zhong Mae bound to a nuclear missile (James Bond 007, GB) 2

Zhong Mae bound to a nuclear missile, James Bond 007 (1998).

Dissatisfied with the direction of global politics following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian General Golgov was responsible for setting up an arms smuggling ring; amassing an army to crush the West in retaliation for Russian nuclear disarmament. James Bond follows the smuggling pipeline to Golgov's hidden base in central Russia. He finds that the General has captured ally Zhong Mae and tied her to one of his five nuclear ballistic missiles. Bond confronts Golgov, who attacks him in an armed mechanical suit. 007 defeats him, but the General triggers the launch sequence for the missiles with his dying breath. Avoiding the missile complex's automated defence systems, Bond subsequently disarms the weapons.

Agent Under Fire

Having kidnapped eight world leaders from a G8 summit in the Mediterranean held aboard the British aircraft carrier, HMS Excalibur, industrialist Adrian Malprave holds them captive at her mountaintop facility in the Swiss Alps. There, the British and French Prime Ministers, along with the German Chancellor and American President, are held at gunpoint in four sealed ICBM missile silos. Each silo houses an old Soviet ballistic missile, its 'CCCP' insignia hastily painted over and replaced with the Malprave Industries logo. Although never fired, it can be inferred from Malprave's dialogue that they were used by her to destroy the facility.


Stockpiled Cold War ICBMs (Nightfire, GC)

Stockpiled ICBMs on Drake's Island, as seen in the console variant of Nightfire (2002).

During the events of Nightfire, the 2002 video-game sequel to Agent Under Fire, Brazilian-Russian entrepreneur, Rafael Drake owns and operates Phoenix International, an environmentalist agency supposedly dedicated to decommissioning and disassembling nuclear reactors and arsenals. However, it becomes clear that Drake is in fact secretly hoarding supposedly decommissioned nuclear weapons for his own future use. Surrounded by hi-tech security below the waves surrounding his idyllic Pacific island, several Cold War era intercontinental ballistic missiles lie submerged. 007 demolishes them using explosive charges.

Everything or Nothing

The Kremlin silo with ICBMs (Everything or Nothing)

The Kremlin silo interior with ICBMs, as seen in Everything or Nothing (2004).

In 2004's Everything or Nothing, Nikolai Diavolo plans to take over Russia and dominate the world by using Soviet-era intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Located in a hidden missile silo underneath the Kremlin in Moscow, Diavolo upgraded the long-since decommissioned missiles with nanotech warheads; capable of eating through all known metals bar platinum. Bond is able to infiltrate the facility, and deactivate the missiles; but Diavolo makes his way to the surface, where he reactivates one of the missiles using a telemetry tower and aims it at London. Although he falls to his demise in the fiery missile silo below, Bond is unable to stop Diavolo from triggering the launch sequence and is forced to shoot the missile out of the sky using a nearby anti-aircraft turret.

From Russia with Love (video game)

FRWL (game) - nuclear missile

007 attempts to disarm and destroy the stolen nuclear missile.

In the 2005 video game adaptation of From Russia with Love, the criminal organisation Octopus steals a nuclear weapon and threatens to destroy London, unless a ransom of £100,000,000 is paid. Twenty-four hours later, 007 is dropped into Octopus' secretive island launch-site by parachute and attempts to stop their plan by infiltrating their secret base and disarming the stolen nuclear missile. After disarming the warhead, Bond encounters Grant once again in the facility's control centre.



See also