The development, sale and use of ballistic missiles with ranges from less than a hundred kilometres to several thousand kilometres. These weapons can equipped with nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional war heads.
The major producing nations of missile systems at the end of the 1980s were the USA, Russia, China, Brazil and France. In September 1989, at least 22 Third World nations were trying to buy or build ballistic missiles. Many had succeeded. Among the nations building, buying, attempting to acquire missiles or have advanced aerospace industries are:
[Africa] Liberia, South Africa
[America] Argentina, Brazil, Canada, USA
[Asia] China, India, Iran Islamic Rep, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Rep, Saudi Arabia, Syrian AR, Taiwan (Rep of China)
[Europe] Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, USSR, UK
In the first decade of the second millennium, the USA plans to build a $50 billion national missile protective shield around the USA and those European allies who agree to take part. This is considered necessary because of the potential threat from "rogue states" like Iraq and North Korea who may, in future, menace the USA with missiles. Critics of the plan argue it could affect the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, in force since 1972, and could trigger a new arms race with Russia and China. Europeans emphasize the need for dialogue with potential adversaries.