A surface-to-air missile (SAM), is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles. They are also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW).
In all modern armed forces, the SAM missiles have replaced most other forms of dedicated anti-aircraft weapons. Short-range missiles are usually mounted on trucks or light armor vehicles that move along with the armed forces they are suppose to protect.
Individual soldiers may carry a man-portable anti-aircraft missile, known as MANPAD. MANPADs usually have ranges on the order of 3 km and are highly effective against attacking helicopters or aircrafts making ground attacks.
Ship-based anti-aircraft missiles are also considered to be surface-to-air missiles, although in practice they are more widely used against sea skimming missiles rather than aircraft. Modern warships may carry long range, mid-range and short range SAMs as a part of their multi-layered air defense.
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