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The Nike system was originally designed for the Surface-to-Air mission - destroying high flying aircraft - similar to the World War II problem, but made much more difficult with the introduction of:
- Jet engines - aircraft flew higher and faster
- Nuclear weapons - one aircraft with one bomb can destroy a city.
The earliest Nike system (Ajax), using conventional explosives could quite well destroy fast, high flying jets carrying conventional or nuclear bombs.
The larger Nike Hercules superceeded the Ajax with:
- longer range ( 100 miles vs 25 for the Ajax )
- ability carry to a nuclear warhead to destroy multiple aircraft
- greater range resolution to reduce confusion with close flying aircraft
The Hercules (Surface-to-Surface Mision) could also be set to attack fixed or slow ground targets with a nuclear warhead at a range of 100 miles. ( ? A variant in Korea could use conventional warheads ? )
The following is taken from TM 9-1400-250-10/2 - Overall System Description - pages 17 - 21
- the Surface-to-Air Mision
- the Surface-to-Surface Mision
- the Radar Bomb Scoring Mission
11 (C). Surface-to-Air Mision
a. In a surface-to-air mission (fig. 5) the acquisition radar operator will use one of the acquisition radar systems (LOPAR or HIPAR/AAR) and the associated selective identification feature/identification friend or foe (SIF/IFF) system to detect and identify targets.
After the target has been detected and identified, the target range and azimuth is electrically designated to the target-tracking radar (TTR) system. When the TTR azimuth operator receives an indication of target designation, he will immediately initiate action (acquire) to cause the TTR to electrically position itself to the designated range and azimuth.
While the TTR is tracking the target, target-present position data (elevation, azimuth, and range) is continuously supplied to a computer system. The target ranging radar (TRR) is slaved to the TTR in elevation and azimuth. During enemy-countermeasure activities, target-range information is provided to the computer by the TRR and elevation and azimuth information is provided by the TTR.
From the target position data, the computer system continuously calculates a predicted intercept point. The azimuth of the predicted intercept point is sent as gyro azimuth preset data by the computer system to the previously designated missile. This data orients a gyro in the missile so that, after launch, the missile automatically rolls to the correct attitude with respect to the predicted intercept point.
A missile tracking radar system is electronically locked on the designated missile while the missile is still on a launcher so that, alter launch, this radar system can supply uninterrupted missile position data to the computer system. The computer system continuously supplies data to two plotting boards which enable the battery control officer to determine the optimum time to launch the missile.
b. When the missile is launched, a rocket motor cluster provides the initial thrust and separates from the missile in approximately 3.8 seconds at approximately 3,500 feet. The computer system continuously calculates a proper missile trajectory, as determined by the target and missile position data being supplied by the tracking radar systems.
The computer system then sends appropriate steering orders to the missile by way of the missile tracking radar system. At a predetermined time before intercept, the computer system automatically sends a burst order by way of the missile tracking radar system.
The burst order causes the missile warhead to detonate within a lethal radius of the target. Detonation of the missile warhead shortly before intercept provides the most effective burst coverage.
13 (C). Surface-to-Surface Mission
In a surface-to-surface mission (fig. 7), the acquisition radar systems are not used because the target position is known.
The range, azimuth, and elevation coordinates of the target are calculated and manually set into the target tracking radar system. Therefore, the target tracking radar system supplies constant target position data to the computer system.
The function of the computer system is similar to that described in paragraph 11 [above] for a normal surface-to air mission except that missile trajectory data is manually set into the computer system causing the missile to be guided toward a point in space above the desired point of impact. At a predetermined time, this point in space is removed causing the computer to issue a dive order to the missile.
The missile then approaches the ground target in a near-perpenicular trajectory. As the missile approaches the ground, the computer system sends a burst order to the missile. However, due to special preparation of the missile for a surface-to-surface mission, the burst order does not cause the missile warhead to detonate. Instead, the burst order disables the missile fail-safe mechanism and causes guidance cutoff by disabling the missile receiver.
The burst order also arms a preset barometric fuze in the missile warhead, and rolls the missile 180 degrees to compensate for flight biases inherent in the missile. The missile then follows a vertical trajectory until the barometric fuze causes the nuclear missile warhead to detonate at a predetermined altitude above the target.
13.1 (U). Radar Bomb Scoring Mission
a. In a radar bomb scoring mission (fig, 6-1 ), as in a tactical surface-to-air mission, the acquisition radar system detects and identifies the bomber and supplies bomber azimuth and range data to the target tracking radar system. The target tracking radar system then acquires and tracks the bomber and supplies continuous bomber position data to the computer system. The computer system produces a plot of the bomber's course on a plotting board and indicates the bomber's altitude on a meter.
b. At the bomb release point the bomber transmits a bomb release signal by UHF radio to an Army Air defense Command Post (AADCP). The signal is relayed automatically by wire or radio to the Improved NIKE-HERCULES battery and the position of the bomber at the bomb release point is indicated automatically on the plotting board. The theoretical bomb impart point is determined from the recorded data. This theoretical impart point is compared with the target position and a score is asigned for the bombing run. The score is sent to the AADCP by voice communication and relayed automatically [o the bomber by UHF radio.
c. Auxiliary equipment, consisting of an RBS control unit, an RBS scale factor unit, and communication equipment, is added to the Improved NIKE-HERCULES System for bomb scoring missions only. The auxiliary equipment is Air Force materiel and is normally operand by Air Force personnel.