New NTI Tutorial Tackles WMD Delivery Systems

The basics on missiles, bombers and drones 

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), in partnership with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), today released a new online tutorial on WMD delivery systems, including ballistic and cruise missiles, combat aircraft and drones. Delivery systems are the means by which a country can use conventional, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.  The mobile-friendly resource uses an array of interactive tools to help students, professionals and news media understand how a nation or a terrorist organization might carry out a WMD attack.

The tutorial explains the differences between ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, combat aircraft and drones, and a comprehensive "attribute explainer" compares how these delivery systems stack up against one another in key categories, such as range, accuracy and cost. Capitalizing on CNS' robust 3D modeling expertise, users can take a tour of annotated 3D ballistic and cruise missile models to understand the essential components of each. Details of the various delivery systems are depicted in rich graphics and photographs.

To illustrate the proliferation of delivery systems, the new tutorial features two complementary Story Maps that showcase both sides of the proliferation coin in North Korea. One shows the transfer of Scud missile technology from North Korea to Iran, Libya, Egypt and others; the other shows international seizures of missile technology bound for North Korea since 1992.

The Delivery Systems tutorial also is a go-to educational resource on ballistic missile defense. An interactive tool provides a step-by-step look at how missile defense is supposed to work, providing information and imagery for each step in the process. The tutorial gives an overview of which countries are pursuing missile defense capabilities.

The Delivery System tutorial adds to NTI's growing library of online tutorials covering a wide range of nonproliferation topics, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and Nuclear and Radiological Security. Educators can integrate the tutorials into their lesson plans by asking students to present a certificate of completion after testing their knowledge with a quiz, included at the end of each tutorial.

Upcoming tutorials will cover the nuclear fuel cycle, the nuclear budget, nuclear testing and biological and chemical weapons.

About the Nuclear Threat Initiative
NTI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.  NTI is co-chaired by Sam Nunn and Ted Turner and governed by an international board of directors.  The organization's activities are directed by Nunn, who serves as chief executive officer, and Joan Rohlfing, who serves as president.  Learn more at


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