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This question already has an answer here:

How do cruise missiles fly? Where does the lift come from? On pictures you can see that they have wings what are tiny compared to the body / payload. Do they generate enough lift? Or is the propulsion, other than in most aircrafts, not just used to overcome drag but also to generate lift, i.e. the thrust force is angled down?

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marked as duplicate by Peter Kämpf, fooot, ymb1, Pilothead, Gerry Jun 6 '18 at 23:33

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure this is a dup. The other question insists pn wing load whereas this one focus on lifting body and the vertival component of thrust. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Jun 6 '18 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ @ManuH: Both are speculative and missing in real life. The other answer should be pasted here. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Jun 6 '18 at 21:52
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Many cruise missiles have wings of some sort, although these can be very small like on the P-700 (barely larger than their control surfaces) or foldable in such a way that makes them not obvious when the missile is in a stowed configuration, like on the Tomahawk or Kh-55.

Additionally, the narrow body of the missile provides lift. Though it is much less effective at it than a wing would be, this is a design trade-off that can be worth it in some scenarios. For supersonic cruise missiles the narrow-body lift is usually enough and the lack of wings is a plus, as they would generate a disproportionate amount of drag at $M_{\infty} \geq 1.0$.

One of the main traits of slender wings (and bodies) is that their effect on the surrounding airflow grows with speed at a much slower rate than that of a high-aspect-ratio wings, making them suitable for high speed applications.

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  • $\begingroup$ Few of the cruise missiles I can find - and none of the ones you mention - appear to have any lifting body dimensions. It really has to do with the fact that the high speed and high wing loading mean that only small wing surfaces are required. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jun 6 '18 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ The central body (engine and warhead housing) of the missile provides lift, as even a small angle of attack is enough to generate transversal force. If you want to run the numbers, use the diameter and length for slender body lift. $\endgroup$ – AEhere supports Monica Jun 7 '18 at 5:02

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