What Is 'The Missile Knows Where It Is?' The Copypasta And Meme Explained (2024)

One of the oldest copypastas on the internet is resurfacing on social media in 2023, finding new ways to be shared as viral audios on TikTok and Instagram Reels. The Missile Knows Where It Is is a copypasta detailing – ambiguously – the technology behind missiles targeting system.

If you're not familiar with how missiles work, don't worry, this is the right article.

Where Does The 'The Missile Knows Where It Is' Come From?

"The Missile Knows Where It Is" copypasta can be found on the internet as early as 2003 in an archive for an obscure page on the University of Wyoming website, Titled "Missile Guidance for Dummies." The Missile meme first appeared on YouTube in 2007 in the video “The missile knows where it is (portfolio length)” by Inimicu, where a student appears to be listening to the missile meme for a school project.


What Is The Text In 'The Missile Knows Where It Is' Copypasta?

The copypasta used in "The Missile Knows Where It Is" is a passage from a pdf called “Association of Air Force Missileers," with the original text for the missile copypasta found on page 5. As well as the text, the website links to an audio recording reading the specific passage (read below).

The missile knows where it is at all times. It knows this because it knows where it isn't. By subtracting where it is from where it isn't, or where it isn't from where it is (whichever is greater), it obtains a difference, or deviation. The guidance subsystem uses deviations to generate corrective commands to drive the missile from a position where it is to a position where it isn't, and arriving at a position where it wasn't, it now is. Consequently, the position where it is, is now the position that it wasn't, and it follows that the position that it was, is now the position that it isn't.
In the event that the position that it is in is not the position that it wasn't, the system has acquired a variation, the variation being the difference between where the missile is, and where it wasn't. If variation is considered to be a significant factor, it too may be corrected by the GEA. However, the missile must also know where it was.
The missile guidance computer scenario works as follows. Because a variation has modified some of the information the missile has obtained, it is not sure just where it is. However, it is sure where it isn't, within reason, and it knows where it was. It now subtracts where it should be from where it wasn't, or vice-versa, and by differentiating this from the algebraic sum of where it shouldn't be, and where it was, it is able to obtain the deviation and its variation, which is called error.

How Is 'The Missile Knows Where It Is' Copypasta Used?

It is generally used as parody music with various remixes being created on 4chan. The most well-known version, uploaded on YouTube in 2017, uses the instrumental from Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.”

The point of the copypasta is pretty clear. No matter what, the missile knows where it is. That being said, players of Flight Simulator and other aircraft games found an ironic way to use the audio in situations where the missile doesn't know where it is.

TikTokers also had an influence in the resurfacing of this copypasta back in 2022, posting videos like the NextBot Chase meme, in which the more close the missile is to the aircraft, the more clearly you can hear the copypasta.

@rome_victor The missile knows where it is #dcsworld #DCS #themissileknowswhereitisatalltimes #flihgtsim #vr ♬ original sound – Romeo Victor

Wait, What Is a Copypasta Again?

To be clear, copypasta memes can be a bit hard to explain, so if you still don't get them, worry not! Copypasta is essentially a text that you “copy” and then “paste” into a text field online. Sometimes people just repost the original content, while other times, like in this case, they adapt the material to new topics and heights, leading to many varying references also being tied into the content.

For the full history of "The missile knows where it is," be sure to check out our entry on the trend here for even more information.

What Is 'The Missile Knows Where It Is?' The Copypasta And Meme Explained (2024)


What does the missile knows where it is mean? ›

The missile knows where it is at all times. It knows this because it knows where it isn't. By subtracting where it is from where it isn't, or where it isn't from where it is (whichever is greater), it obtains a difference or deviation.

How do missiles know where to go? ›

With active guidance, the missile would track its target by means of emissions that it generated itself. Active guidance was commonly used for terminal homing. Examples were antiship, surface-to-air, and air-to-air missiles that used self-contained radar systems to track their targets.

What is the missile guidance system? ›

The guidance system ensures the interception of the target by the missile by locating both in space. This means that they will not rely on the angular coordinates like in CLOS systems. They will need another coordinate which is distance. To make it possible, both target and missile trackers have to be active.

What does the word missile mean where are they found? ›

noun. : an object (such as a weapon) thrown or projected usually so as to strike something at a distance. stones, artillery shells, bullets, and rockets are missiles.

What do fighter pilots say when they fire a missile? ›

"Fox" is short for "foxtrot", the NATO phonetic designation for the letter "F", which is short for "fire". A fighter pilot announcing that a weapon has been fired is intended to help avoid friendly fire, alerting other pilots to avoid maneuvering into the path of the munition.

How far do missiles shoot? ›

Ballistic Missile Basics

There are four general classifications of ballistic missiles: Short-range ballistic missiles, traveling less than 1,000 kilometers (approximately 620 miles); Medium-range ballistic missiles, traveling between 1,000–3,000 kilometers (approximately 620-1,860 miles);

Do missiles have cameras on them? ›

Television guidance (TGM) is a type of missile guidance system using a television camera in the missile or glide bomb that sends its signal back to the launch platform.

How far up do missiles go? ›

In order to cover large distances, ballistic missiles are usually launched into a high sub-orbital spaceflight; for intercontinental missiles, the highest altitude (apogee) reached during free-flight is about 4,500 kilometers (2,800 mi).

How far can missiles be fired? ›

Land-based ICBMs
TypeMinimum range (km)Maximum range (km)
R-36 (SS-18)10,20016,000
38 more rows

Do lock on missiles exist? ›

Many modern anti-aircraft missiles use some form of semi-active radar homing, where the missile seeker listens for reflections of the launch platform's main radar. To provide a continuous signal, the radar is locked-onto the target, following it throughout the missile's flight.

Can a missile miss its target? ›

Missiles can miss their target for various reasons, such as human error, mechanical failure, environmental interference, or enemy action. Depending on the type of missile and the circ*mstances of the miss, different outcomes may occur.

Which country has the best missile technology in the world? ›

Russia possesses most versatile and powerful missiles. Some of their peerless missiles are : Sarmat RS 24 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile having 24 nuclear warhead which can hit anywhere on Earth Surface.

Which is fastest missile in world? ›

1. Avangard: Revolutionizing Hypersonic Technology. The Avangard missile, developed by Russia, has earned its reputation as a game-changer in hypersonic technology. With its incredible speed and agility, the Avangard is capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 27, or 32,200 kilometers per hour.

Do air-to-air missiles spin? ›

As the missile speeds through the air, the air current spins the rolleron like a pinwheel. The rollerons on the rear wings help stabilize the missile in flight. If you've read How Gyroscopes Work, you know that a spinning wheel resists lateral forces acting on it.

How does a missile detect its target? ›

The target seeker is based either on radar or infra-red (IR) or laser devices. The warhead of a missile is selected keeping in mind its target type. It inflicts damage on the target and hence determines the missile's lethality.

What does a heat seeking missile see? ›

Missiles which use infrared seeking are often referred to as "heat-seekers" since infrared is radiated strongly by hot bodies. Many objects such as people, vehicle engines and aircraft generate and emit heat and so are especially visible in the infrared wavelengths of light compared to objects in the background.

What is the meaning of Jericho missile? ›

Jericho (Hebrew: יריחו, romanized: Yericho) is a general designation given to a loosely-related family of deployed ballistic missiles developed by Israel since the 1960s.

What is the path of a missile called? ›

An intercontinental ballistic missile trajectory consists of three parts: the powered flight portion; the free-flight portion, which constitutes most of the flight time; and the re-entry phase, where the missile re-enters the Earth's atmosphere.


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