Military Wednesday - United States Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs)

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Military Wednesday - United States Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs)

Wednesday, Aug 4 2010 by kjfitz
1955-1972 - Bomarc

The CIM-10 Bomarc was the only surface-to-air missile ever deployed by the United States Air Force. All other U.S. land-based SAMs were and are under the control of the United States Army.

The supersonic Bomarc missiles were the first long-range anti-aircraft missiles in the world. They were capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads. Their intended role in defense was in an intrusion prevention perimeter. Bomarcs aligned on the eastern and western coasts of North America would theoretically launch and destroy enemy bombers before the bombers could drop their payloads on industrial regions.



1953-1974 - Nike

Project Nike was a U.S. Army project, proposed in May 1945 by Bell Laboratories, to develop a line-of-sight anti-aircraft missile system. The project delivered the United States' first operational anti-aircraft missile system during 1953, the Nike Ajax. The missile's first-stage solid rocket booster became the basis for many types of rocket including the Nike Hercules missile. Nike Hercules was included in SALT I discussions as an ABM. Following the treaty signed during 1972, and further budget reduction, almost all Nike sites in the continental United States were deactivated by April, 1974. Some units remained active until the later part of that decade in a coast air defense role.



1975-1976 - Sentinel and Safeguard Programs (Sprint and Spartan)

The LIM-49A Spartan was a United States Army anti-ballistic missile. It was a three-stage, solid-fuel surface-to-air missile that carried a W71 thermonuclear warhead to intercept incoming warheads at high altitude. The missile was launched from an underground silo, and radio command guided. The warhead was designed to destroy incoming nuclear weapons by neutron flux rather than by blast. The Spartan missile was in operational service for only a few months, from October 1975 to early 1976. A combination of high costs and the SALT I treaties made the missiles unpopular politically.

The Sprint was a two-stage, solid-fuel anti-ballistic missile, armed with a W66 enhanced radiation thermonuclear warhead. It was designed as the short-range high-speed counterpart to the longer-range LIM-49 Spartan as part of the Sentinel program. Sentinel never became operational, but the technology was deployed briefly in a downsized version called the Safeguard program. The Sprint, like the Spartan, was in operational service for only a few months in the Safeguard program, from October 1975 to early 1976.



1960-1994 - Hawk

The Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk is a U.S. medium range surface-to-air missile. The Hawk was initially designed to destroy aircraft and was later adapted to destroy other missiles in flight. The missile entered service in 1960, and a program of extensive upgrades has kept it from becoming obsolete. It was superseded by the MIM-104 Patriot in United States Army service by 1994. It was finally phased out of US service in 2002



1981-Present - Patriot

The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary of its kind used by the United States Army and several allied nations. It is manufactured by the Raytheon Company of the United States. The Patriot System replaced the Nike Hercules system as the U.S. Army's primary High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) system, and replaced the MIM-23 Hawk system as the U.S. Army's medium tactical air defense system. In addition to these roles, Patriot has been given the function of the U.S. Army's anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, which is now Patriot's primary mission.



  


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