I see that some countries periodically test their cruise missiles, saying that they have increased the range. For example, Pakistan doubled the range of the Babur cruise missile and designated it as Babur 1B.

My question is, what kind of modification is required to extend the range of an existing cruise missile?

Do they re-engineer the engine? Do they extend the fuel capacity? Do they change the type of fuel?

  • $\begingroup$ It's probably the same as extending an airplane's range, which is a pretty general answer. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 13:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Better fuel, better electronic (and sensors) which can optimally burn fuel. Better simulation of engine to improve aerodynamics and internal fuel flow. Lighter materials (on some parts). More fuel. Etc. but it is military stuff, so we know very few (and sometime misleading facts). Space Stack Exchange may have better opinions, because technologies may be the same as space launchers. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ It doesn’t necessarily need to be engine/fuel related. It could also be an improved guidance system that allows the required precision over a longer distance. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ This is also trending well into politics - range extension can simply mean 'we lied about the before range and now choose to tell a different lie', or did things like replacing the warhead with a fuel tank or chose ideal environmental conditions for the flight. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


One obvious way is to replace the engine with a more fuel efficient one. Swapping out parts made out of metal with carbon fibre parts is also an option, reducing weight will increase range. Reducing the warhead weight does the same thing, obviously, but also reduces combat effectiveness.

Air launching instead of launching from the ground can also increase range as the climb to cruise altitude from the ground through thick air costs a lot of fuel (but I guess that's not what you're looking for as a way to increase range), or alternatively replace the launch booster rocket with one that has a longer burn time.

  • $\begingroup$ As pointed out by the comments, I think extending the fuel capacity, for example by ellongating the body of the missile is also a very obvious solution. $\endgroup$
    – U_flow
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ @U_flow yes and no. It means changing the size and shape of the missile body, which may or may not be an option depending on launch mechanism. E.g. a submarine launched Tomahawk is limited by the size of a standard 21" torpedo tube. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ good point, it depends on the constraints for example because of the launch mode. However the elongation is simple and largely preserves the Cog and aerodynamic properties, as well as it is simple from a production perspective while yielding the greatest range boost. I speculate that this is the method was used in this case, but I have no proof. $\endgroup$
    – U_flow
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @U_flow lengthening the missile body tends to change the aerodynamic properties, especially center of gravity, which may necessitate other changes (if you're lucky just to the avionics software, if not to the wings and other surfaces). $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ given other options I still argue that such a modification might be the most effective option $\endgroup$
    – U_flow
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 12:20

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