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Jet over mount

Shown here is an artist's depiction of a Soviet surface-to-air missile system engaging western combat aircraft.

Pale the Interceptor could be based off the surface-to-air missile (SAM), or ground-to-air missile (GTAM). It is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles. It is one type of anti-aircraft system; in modern armed forces missiles have replaced most other forms of dedicated anti-aircraft weaponry, with the anti-aircraft cannon pushed into niche roles.

The first serious attempts at SAM development took place during World War II, although no operational systems were introduced. Further development through the 1940s and 50s led to the first operational systems being introduced by most major forces during the second half of the 1950s. Smaller systems, suitable for close-range work, evolved though the 1960s and 70s, to modern systems that are man portable. Ship-borne systems followed the evolution of land-based models, starting with long-range weapons and steadily evolving toward smaller designs to provide a layered defence that have pushed gun-based systems into the shortest-range roles.

Historically notable systems include the US's Nike Ajax, the first operational SAM system, and the Soviet Union's S-75 Dvina, the most-produced SAM and saw active combat service around the world. Widely used modern examples include the Patriot and S-300 wide-area systems, and short-range man-portable systems like the Stinger and 9K34 Strela-3.