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So far, this study has dealt primarily with the initial R&D phase of the NIKE Project, the culmination of which was a series of official R&D System Tests conducted from 15 November 1951 to 24 April 1952. Normally, this phase of the project would have been followed by a period of advanced development and engineering effort, which would have led, in due course, to the orderly release of final engineer drawings and specifications for production of the ultimate tactical system. However, as already noted in this study, the production processes of the NIKE Project were pieced on a "crash" basis and the contractor was requested to undertake the development and delivery of tactical weapons well in advance of the time normally allowed after completion of an experimental program. This meant, in effect, that the contractor had to extract a tactical design from an experimental system which had not been fully developed and field tested. The actual design and fabrication of tactical prototype missiles was, in fact, started early in 1951 while the experimental program was still in its final stages and before the complete R&D System

* The tactical version of the NME AAGM System was originally designated the NIKE I, XSAM-A-7 (Experimental Surface-to-Air Missileile - Army design no. 7). In Jul 55, it was redesignated the NIKE I -Antiaircraft Guided Missile System to more clearly define the system function. Finally, the name NIKE I was changed to NIKE AJAX by DA Cir 700-221 dated 15 NOV 56. (At the same time, the RME B--a more deadly, longer-range version of the NIKE then under dev--was renamed NIKE HERCULES.) To avoid confusion, the NIKE I is hereinafter referred to by its new name regardless of the period under discussion; the old name is used onlyy when necessary in citing titles of, or quoting from reference material. For complete text of Ord policies relating to identification and type designation of the NIKE's and other GH systems, see Appendices 8, 9, and 10.
had been subjected to official flight tests against airborne targets.l (See NIKE AJAX Program Schedule, Figure 28.)

The first model of the 1249 tactical missile2 thus took form late in 1951 and was successfully fired from the original ground equiment on 25 February 1952--exactly two months before the last R&D round roared from its launcher and dramatically demonstrated the pawer of the NIKE as a destructive antiaircraft weapon. The first production line missile (no. 1249B-1001) made a successful flight on 22 July 1952--three short weeks after completion of R&D System Tests.

Because of this overlap of R&D and industrial activity, the NIKE story must once again depart from a true chronological narrative. Backtracking to 1950, this chapter begins with a brief background history of the telescoped R&D production program and goes on to describe the design, development, and production of the NIKE AJAX Guided Missile System, which was later to emerge with marked distinction as the first combat-ready antiaircraft guided missile to be used in the U.S. air defense network.

The coverage given the telescoped production program is not intended to represent a conclusive industrial history of tbs project. This subject is covered only to the extent necessary to place the development program in proper perspective and to give the reader a better conception of what the telescoped or "crash" program actually involved, since it was the


first such program ever attempted by Army Ordnance.3 Production and cost statistics for the entire NIKE Project are briefly covered in the final section of this chapter.

The Telescoped R&D Reduction Program
When U. S. Armed Forces entered into the Korean conflict in June 1950, immediate action was taken to accelerate the research, development, and production of guided missile systems. Recogizing the interest of all services in the field of guided missiles, the Secretary of Defense, in October 1950, established a new office entitled "Director of Guided Missiles." Headed by Mr. K. T. Keller of the Chrysler Corporation, this new office was responsible for providing competent advice on the research, development, and production of guided missiles.

A review of all guided missile projects, conducted by Mr. Keller and his staff, revealed that the NIKE Program was the most advanced in the development stage and offered the best potential defensive capabilities. In his recommendations-commonly known as the "Keller Papers"--Mr. Keller stated that the "Acceleration of production processes for NIKE I project is considered immediately necessary in order to get this missile system out of research and development and into the tactical weapon stage at the earliest practicable date." To insure the earliest possible use of the weapons system, he recommended that the following be established as initial program objectives:

From the outset, it was realized that this would be an ambitious undertaking, for it was drastically different from anything yet attempted by the Ordnance Corps.5 Alter considering the various advantages and disadvantages of such a program, the assistant chief of the Surface-to-Air Missile Section, Ammunition Branch, OCO, in a memorandum to the chief, Annrmnition Branch on 4 December 1950, described the Oranance position, in part, as follows:
"...The Ordnance Position. The NIKE System is essentially in the research and development stage. Of the items...(Comprising the System)...not one has been finalized for production...from the routine point of view, the research and development stage is not sufficiently advanced for the Industrial Division to take part in this program; however, if the production requirements assumed above an to be met...production effort should be contracted for within the next month or two. As of the moment, no production organization is in existence to carry out this production program.6
The disadvantages of such a program would be numerous. Since development would still be in process, drawings would be incomplete and inadequate for a basis of procurement. With the introduction of developmental changes,
components ordered for production would have to be scrapped and new components ordered. Expeditors would be faced with the problem of securing new material in time to meet production commitments. No experience would be available from field use upon which to base allowances for support items for tactical use. Therefore, spare parts estimates for maintenance Support would have to be recommended on the basis of mortality exptriences with other highly complicated electronic items. As development continued, it would be necessary to provide for concurrent modification in the Field and, if practical, in the factory prior to delivery, in order to assure that the items produced would be in pace with the development of the art. To assure the incorporation of all necessary modifications, numerous records would have to be assembled to provide a "history" for each system produced. Inspectors would have to rely, to a greet extent, on contractor inspection techniques and would have to inspect against contractor's drawings and specifications. In pursuing such a telescoped program, the rights of the Government--with regard to drawings and other technical data which would disclose information considered by the contractor to be of a proprietary nature-would not be clearly established.

After careful consideration it was decided that the urgent military need for this new defense weapon outweighed both the risks of attendant disadvantages and the high costs involved. The Keller recommendations were thus approved by the Army Chief of Staff in January 1951 and the Chief of Ordnance was directed to take the actions necessary to obtain funds for the accelerated NIKE Program. On a "crash" basis, the estimated cost of the program was only slightly better than an educated guess. To meet the initial program objectives cited above, the Director of Guided Missiles had estimated a total program of $370 million, including research and development and Government furnished equipment (GFE).7 in the initial proposal, submitted to the Chief of Ordnance late in December 1950, the prime contractor (WECo) estimated that the same program objectives would require $192.5 million. To initiate work on the accelerated program WECo first requested $100 million. However, when this amount was questioned by G-4, the contractor reduced the initial funding requirement to a minimum of $60 million. It was then determined that only $56,956,000 in Ordnance funds was available for the initiation of the program.

On 26 January 1951, G-4 approved the commitment of funds and issuance of a letter order to WECo for $56,956,000. Hence a formal letter order bearing Contract no. DA-30-069-0RD-125 was issued on 19 February 1951, such order to remain in effect until a definitive contract could be written.

In July 1951, WECo submitted a firm proposal amounting to $232 million, and the award of a contract in this amount was approved in December of the same year. On 18 March 1952, the original letter order was superseded by a definitive contract (ORD-125) which provided for the initial production and delivery of 1,000 missiles, 60 sets of ground equipment, 20 sets of assembly area equipment, and 20 sets of ORD-6 test equipment.

In the performance of this contract, WECo manufactured or assembled the majority of all electronic components, the ground guidance and control equipment being manufactured at its Burlington, North Carolina plant, and the guidance section at its shop in St. Paul, Minnesota. For the manufacture of items other than electronic, WECo chose the Douglas Aircraft Company as principal subcontractor and BTL was selected as the supporting design agency. Specifically, DAC was responsible for producing: (1) NIKE Missiles, less guidance sections (though it was required to assemble guidance section into the missile); (2) launching and handling equipment, less electronic items; (3) assembly area equipment; and (4) missile ORD-6 test equipment, less electronic items.

In administering subcontracts, WECo gave primary consideration to economy and low cost of material for the Government. Accordingly, WECo first selected items manufactured within its own plants; than standard "off-the-shelf" items; and finally, other standard items whicb might be subject to very slight modification. The selection of suitable subcontractors and vendors was based on the following criteria: availability and cost of items; quality of product; ability to perform; financial stability; technical ability and engineering capability for developing a better part; and capacity to manufacture on production basis if required. In purchasing parts-where there were no commercially established prices -WECo's policy was to solicit at least three competitive bids. Where competitive bidding was not freasible due to type Or item required, a redetermination clause was included in the purchase contract.8

Design and Fabrication of the Tactical Prototype

The success of NIKE ground guidance demonsrtions early in 1950, together with mounting concern over the international situation, prompted Army Ordnance to begin work on a tactical version of the NIKE System some twelve months earlier than originally programsed.9 This decision represented a major change in scope of contractor effort, for the original project objectives were limited to the successful demonstration of the command guidance system of control and submission of recommendations covering the necessary parameters for a tactical surface-to-air missile system using this type of guidance. The initiation of design and development work on the tactical system at this point in the program made it essential that the original R&D objectives be completed as expeditiously as possible, in order to insure satisfactory solutions to remaining problems and to provide the necessary research background.

A preview of the design objectives and equipent plans for the tactical system was given to Army, Navy, and Air Force representatives in a presentation in Washington on 24 July 1950. A final report outlining the plans, objectives, and design features of the system was later prepared and distributed to Ordnance and Field Force personnel for use as an engineering guide.10 Briefly, the design objectives of the tactical system were formulated to provide, at the earliest possible date, an effective defense against 650-knot maneuvering bomber type aircraft at ranges up to 25 nautical miles (NM) and at altitudes up to 60,000 feet. Based on known capabilities determined by analytical and experimental work, these objectives defined a defense weapon that would be effective, Not only against presently known designs of bomber type aircraft, but also against those predicted for the near future. In keeping with established organizational practices in the field of antiaircraft artillery, the fire unit for this guided missile system was to be the 'Battery"--several batteries making up a battalion.

The initial development schedule embraced three specific phases of effort: (1) the design and construction of all ground equipment required for one tactical NIKE battery; (2) the design and construction of a quantity of missiles for service test of that battery; and (3) the preparation of complete manufacturing information suitable for mass production of equipment and missiles. This included the missile and control equipment proper, as well as all supporting equpment such as target acquisition radar, tactical control facilities, checkout equipment, field test equipment for battery and higher echelon maintenance, ana all other items necessary to form a completely integrated guided missile battery suitable for field use under combat conditions.

By August 1950, detailed planning for the tactical system had progressed to the point where design and operational features of the missile and ground equipment could be established. As viewed at this time, the missile for the tactical system was almost identical to that of the 1950 (Model 490) R&D System shown in Figure 13 (page 84); however, consideration of the problems of reliability, ease of fabrication, and servicing of missiles under field conditions dictated certain changes in design which had to be proved-in by firing tests prior to quantity manufacture. For this purpose, 108 experinental mi.ail.s (Models 1249 & 1249A) were later fabricated and fired in proving ground tests.ll The ground radars for the tactical system were similar to the monopulse radars but they too required some modification for production and tactical use. The handling and servicing equipment was also redesigned to improve transportability and field use.

Late in 1950, it vas decided that the project schedule then in effect was inadequate. A review of the project indicated that the already accelerated NIKE schedule could be shortened by one year through a "crash" program employing unlimited overtime and a calculated risk. The resulting schedule called for the delivery of three service test models of the Battery Equipment by Decembcr 1952 (one in September, one in November, and one in December), and one service test model of the Assembly Area Equipment in September 1952.

The year 1951 vas one of rapid build-up to the increased work rate necessary to meet the next development schedule. The equipment was divided into a large number of subassemblies for design and manufacturing purposes, with development responsibility being allocated to various departments within BTL. The DAC was brought into the project to design the trailers, launcher, launcher control, and the assembly area equipment, in addition to its responsibility for the missile. Meanwhile, the Ordnance Corps and Signal Corps had increased their efforts to meet the development and procurement schedules for certain components and subassemblies that were to be Government-furnished items for the NIKE System.l3

Acquisition and Tracking Radars

The decision, late in 1951, to use the new acquisition radar then being introduced in the T33* Antiaircraft Fire Control System (AAPCS) not
* Protoype model designated the T33; later production model designated the M33.
only contributed materially to the meeting of NIKE development schedules but also provided for standardizations between the T33 and NIKE AJAX Systems. The development of the T33 AAFCS in advance of the NIKE System and the similarity of the two systems enabled BTL to anticipate the needs of NIKE as the equipment for the T33 was designed. The end result was an extensive saving of both time and money required for research and development, production, logistics, and personnel training.ll

Constructed of lightweight materials, the acquisition antenna was mounted on a tripod-supported drive unit capable of rotating (the antenna) at speeds of either 10, 20, or 30 revolutions per minute. The RF unit and the modulator unit for the acquisition radar were contained in separate sections and desiged for attachment, during use, to the lower portion of the antenna drive. Other acquisition equipment, such as power supplies, controls, and indicators, was housed permanently in the battery control trailer, from which the antenna could be remotely controlled. Engineering teats of the revised acquisition radar antenna, completed early in 1952, confirmed its anticipated performance and indicated that it would satisfy NIKE objectives. By July 1952, the acquisition radar system had been installed in the Battery Equipment and tests had progressed to the point where power could be applied to all of the electronic circuits. In October, its operation as part of the tactical system was checked during tests of the tracking radars employing aircraft targets. All facilities proved satisfactory and no changes were necessary. A scale model of the acquisition antenna assembly is shown in Figure 29.

With the ercaption of a few plug-in type components which established the final Functional identity of the tracking radars, the missile and target tracking radar antenna mounts were identical. Each mount included a stationary equipment enclosure with out-triggers and jacks to permit precise leveling at the operational site. (Note scale model of the antenna mount in Figure 30.) This entire antenna assembly was permanently mounted on a flat bed trailer and secured by means of shock mounts. The assembly was designed so that the vehicle weight could be released from the antenna mount when the unit was sited and leveled, thus providing isolation between the working deck and the mount proper. Design information on the vehicle was completed and model construction started late in 1951. No major problems were encountered in this program.


The basic circuit configuration and requirements for all elements of

{ image of M33 Acquisition Radar }

{ image of AJAX Tracking Antenna Assembly }

the computer were established as early as September 1951. By the end of the year, preparation of manufacturing information had been completed and work started on construction of model components.

Early in the program, a high precision zero-set circuit was developed for use in those portions of the computer where more rigid requirements precluded use of the conventional zero-set system designed for the AAFCS T33. Also developed early in the program were potentiomters with extreme precision requirements for primary co-ordinate conversion. Manufacturing information on these designs was completed and the first model successfully tested early in 1952.

Additional circuit facilities were later incorporated in the computer design, following a study of operational limitations related to missile boost dispersion and radar tracking capabilities. An initial turn computation was included to modify the initial steering orders transmltted to the missile and thus avoid a flight path to target intercept which might exceed the azimuth tracking capabilities of the radar.

The construction of all components was completed in June 1952 and engineering teats were started. By October 1952, the first prototype computer had been completely tested and installed in the battery control trailer. Two Dynamic Test Sets, constructed for production testing of the computer, were checked out with the first computer during tests at Whippany, N. J. One was shipped to the Burlington, N. C. plant of WECo for use in production testing; the other was retained by the BTL Murray Hill laboratories until March 1952 and then shipped to the Burlington plant.

Launching & Handling Equipment

The launching and handling equipment of the NIKE AJAX Battery was to consist of the launcher-loaders and the launching control equipment. The battery itself was to include four launching sections with four launching positions, each of the latter consisting of a launcher-loader capable of accommodating four prepared missiles--one on the launcher and three on the loading rack.

During the initial development phase, facilities for simplified check-out tests of prepared missiles were designed into the launcher- loader unit with provisions for individual test of any of the four prepared missiles via its own ground connection cable. Early in 1952, an engineering model of the launcher-loader was used successfully in the firing of three test rounds at WSPG. Although no damage or malfunction was experienced, some design changes were made in the launcher rail and base structure to improve the rigidity of the assembly.

The design of launching control and launching section operating equipment was completed in March 1952. On the suggestion of DAC, the aximuth gyro pre-set system was simplified, resulting in the elimination of several major equipment components from the launching control console. A similar reduction in equipment required at the launching section level was accomplished by an agreement with the Ordnance Corps and the Corps of Engineers to obtain a small amount of 24-volt battery power from the engine generators supplying prime power to the system.

The construction and delivery of launchers for the first prototype battery fell behind schedule because of a nation-wide steel strike in the summer of 1952. Although a full complement of launchers was scheduled for delivery to WSPG; by September 1952, only the four required to equip Section A had been delivered. (The launcher-loader installed in Section A is shown in Figure 31.) The remaining launchers to complete the first { Figure 31. NIKE Launcher-Loader installed in Section A (BTL Photo, Oct 52) } { Fig. 32 NIKE I Missile Checkout Equipment (BTL Photo, Oct 52) } battery for contractor's tests were delivered in January 1953; launchers for the second and third prototype batteries were scheduled for delivery in March 1953.

Early tests of the production launcher indicated the need for some changes, one of which involved a revision of launcher operating power package requirements to include a more severe duty cycle and a lower electrical voltage supply. These changes, along with pump priming difficulties and an originally marginal motor, combined to cause unsatisfactory operation. however, acceptable operation uas attained by insuring an increased minimum voltage and by priming the hydraulic pump properly to prevent galling and subsequent high torque and heating characteristics. The original 5 horsepower motors were later replaced by 7.5 horsepower motors. In addition, the missile test power package required the addition of an "unloading" valve to obtain correct starting characteristics against full hydraulic load.

Late in 1952, joint Army-contractor missile loading tests were conducted at WSPG with excellent results. These tests were particularly significant in that they were conducted with Army edlisted men performing all the duties that would be required in an actual engagement.l5 It had been estimated previously that about 4.5 minutes would be required for one complete launcher loading sequence. During the test, which was made in daylight, the entire operation was completed in 2 minutes and 15 seconds by three men and in 2 minutes and 27 seconds by two men. This reduced time suggested, among other things, the possibility of reducing the number of launchers in a battery without effecting the rate of fire.

Cable System

The inter-unit cabling system for the NIKE battery consisted of approxmately 150 reels of portable cable. Many of these cables were standard Ordnance or Signal Corps types then under procurement for other projects; however, a few had to be developed especially for the NIKE, since no existing cable could be found to fulfill the specialized requirements. Cables in the latter category consisted mainly of multi-coaxial lines and special forms of shielded conductors. One cable with particularly stringent requirement was composed of 3 RG9/U type coaxial conductors encased in a single sheath.

In designing connectors for the special cables, standard Ordnance connector shells were used, with special inserts being provided for the coaxial and shielded conductors. All other connectors were standard Ordnance or Sigal Corps types. Because of the large number of connector requirements in the NIKE System and the importance of weight reduction, all Ordnance type connectors were made of alumiuum alloy rather than the conventional bronze. Thee resulting weight reduction was especially important in portable units, such as launching section equipment, that contained a great number of connectors.

The Missile-Booster Combination

In establishing the production design for the missile-booster combination, emphasis was placed on further simplification of basic designs and more complete division into independent subassemblies to facilitate assembly, storage, and stocking of spare parts. Small subassemblies, such as those in the hydraulic system, were designed so that they could be separately assembled, bench-tested, and inserted in the missile as a complete unit. The maxirmtm possible use was made of die-formed materials. All drawings were continuously reviewed in an effort to reduce manufacturing time and the use of critical materials.

As noted earlier in this study, the missile for the tactical system, as viewed late in 1950, was almost identical to that of the final R&D Test System (Model 490). Even after two years of concentrated design and test effort, the external configuration of the missile-booster combination had changed but little, though a number of internal design changes had been made to inrprove system reliability.

The first series of 1249 test missiles took form late in 1951 and flight firings from original launching equipment began in February 1952. At the end of December 1952, 68 missiles of various designs had been flight tested at WSPG to prove component performance preparatory to contractor evaluation tests which were to begin in January 1952.16

The design of the initial 1249 Model shown in Figures 33 and 34 was established early in 1951. Production drawings for the missile and booster were completed in October and 20 rounds were hand-built on temporary tooling for use in the 1952 experimental program.


The missile control surface actuating system was designed to incorporate improvements derived from the MIKE 490 program. The forward control fin torque shafts were designed as one-piece units, potentiometer drives were revised to obtain a more direct actuating mechanism, a lanyard

{ Fig. 33. NIKE I missile on launcher-loader (BTL Photo, Jun 52) }

{ Fig. 34. NIKE I missile erected on launcher-loader at WSPG (BTL Photo, Jun 52) }

was designed to actuate the shut-off or "arming" valve as the missile leaves the launcher, and the control surface hydraulic locks were removed in favor of an electronic means for zero-positioning of the fins during boost. The operating pressure was increased from 1800 to 2000 pounds per square inch for better efficiency; the accumulator air charging pressure was reduced from 65O0 to 3000 psi, enabling the system to be chargsd in conjunction with the power plant pressurization system. As a result of this change, a much larger air storage tank was required for the hydraulic system and the oil supply volume had to be decreased. The transfer valves were similar to the Model J-7 valves but contained improvements developed during the current research program. The servo system networks were basically the same as those under development in the NIKE experimental program.

GS-15530 Guidance Section

The missile guidance equipment was contained in a cast ssction of the missile body extending betveen stations 44.750 and 75.781. (Note location of Guidance Section in Figure 35.) The magnesium casting was designed to mount four GS-15398 antennas and to house the GS-15385 Guidance Unit and the Government-Funished BB-401/U nickel-cadmium battery. It was equipped with sealed bulk-heads and access openings so that the internal pressure at launch would be maintained in flight. The four antennas mounted on the surface were electrically similar to the antennas used on Model 484 and 490 experimental missiles, but the fairing design was improved to reduce drag. Two of the antennas were used to receive X-band interrogations and commands from the missile tracking radar; the

Fig. 35. NIKE I Missile, 36 Kbytes

other two transmitted responses to the missile tracking radar as an aid to missile acquisition in tracking. The GS-15385 Guidance Unit was composed of six major components; viz., the Gyro Unit, Power Unit, Beacon, RF transmitter Wave Guide, Control Amplifier, and the Steering Order Demodulator.

Exploratory design work on this equipment was started late in 1950 and intensive design effort was initiated in February 1951. By the time Ordnance drawing forms first became available for use, the Guidance Section maufacturing information was about 80% complete. To avoid confusion, the information was completed on BTL manufacturing drawing forms and the initial equipnent built from there drawings was designated as the "NIKE I Prototype Missile Guidance Equipment."17 Manufacturing information for the production lot of 1,000 Guidance Sections was then prepared on Ordnance forms by a BTL group at WECo's Hawthorne plant. This manufacturing information, taken from negatives of the prototype drawings, was released for production on 15 September 1951.

The only serious problem in connection with production of the guidance section concerned procurement of reliable gyros. From the inception of the production program, an excessive rejection rate existed at the gyro manufacturer's plant, and a further high rejection rate persisted in acceptance testing of these gyros at WECo. A review of the rejection records revealed both design weaknesses and poor quality control. These difficulties not only caused the production of guidance sections to fall behind schedule, but also interfered with the production of flyable missiles for R&D tests at WSPG. Following a review of the problems in December 1952, acceptance of gyros from the manufacturer was suspended until the production and design weaknesses could be corrected. Because of the already low production rates, this decision also stopped production of guidance sections. The necessary improvements were accomplished on a top priority basis and delivery of small quantities of gyros was resumed in April 1953. Before quantity production could be resumed, however, it was necessary to correct another design error in the Amount Gyro which had caused a large number of missile flight failures at WSPG. Quantity production was resumed in June 1953.

Meanwhile, work was started on a complete mechanical redesign of the guidance section, with the objective of increasing operational reliability and ease of maintenance and manufacture. This work was later completed as part of the improvement program.


Studies to evaluate the effect of production tolerances on missile performance were completed late in 1951. Included in these studies were such factors as surface roughness, the effect of missile body component alignment on stability and control, and the effect of weight tolerances on center of gravity location. A surface roughness of plus or minus 250 micro-inches, compared with one of plus or minus 125 micro-inches as originally planned, was found to be aerodynamically acceptable, in that it did not increase drag appreciably. Moreover, it was found that this production tolerance would reduce manufacturing costs by 18%.

NIKE flight trajectories obtained from the system tester were used to determine the effect or variations in missile drag, end-of-boost velocity, missile weight, initial turn command, and glide command. Computations based on data furnished by Allagany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) on the booster rocket, JATO, 25 DA 59000 X 216A2, indicated an end-of-boost velocity of 2,035 feet per second at 3,650 feet above sea level, with the conditions being a missile-plus-booster weight of 2,369 pounds, launching at sea level, and a powder grain temperature of 77 degrees F.

To avoid a hold on production, the decision was made late in 1951 to place the missile center of gravity (CG) at Station 141.8. However, to improve aerodynamic stability at altitudes above 30,000 feet, it was later necessary to move the missile CG location to Station 139.0 This was done by changing the weight and shape of the center and aft warheads.

Missile Power Plant System

The acid-gasoline power plant system designed for the 1249 missile contained an uncooled engine with a Graphitar ceramic chamber lining and a Niaphrax ceramic throat to protect the chamber against combustion temperatures. It used JP-3 jet aircraft fuel and white fuming nitric acid [ all other documents call this fluid "RED FUMING NITRIC ACID" ] as the oxidizer, with the starting propellant being the same aniline-alcohol mixture used in the NIKE R&D acid-aniline power plant system. Static tests of this motor were started at the AeroJet Engineering Corporation in 1950. The first flight test-made at WSPG as part of the NIKE 490A Supplementary Firing Program early in 1951--was frustrated by an explosion at motor start and further flights were discontinued until more static tests could be made.18 The problem of motor explosion at the end of the burning period was solved by the use of an interlinked-diaphragm type propellant valve, which was designed to control the initial entry of propellant into the motor and to automatically shut off the fuel flow after a specific drop in motor chamber pressure. Flight tests of the power plant system were resumed in February 1952, with the firing of the first 1249 experimental missile.l9

Based on propellant studies and tests conducted late in 1952, the decision was made to change from JP-3 to JP-4 fuel for all NIKE firings at USPG.20

The Booster

Like other components of the 1249 system, the tactical booster took its origin from corresponding equipment developed for the R&D test model. The basic design and performance characteristics of the R&D and tactical boosters, however, were quite different, even though the operational concept of the NIKE two-stage propulsion system remained the same. To obtain the desired missile performance characteristics, the tactical booster was required to produce a much greater thrust, have a considerably less gross weight, and exhibit a shorter burning time. The latter factor was particularly important, in that it would reduce the overall time of missile flight to impact and therefore govern the maximum firing rate of the NIKE Battery.

The solid propellant booster for the MKE AJAX was based on the Navy' a TERRIER booster, which was adopted for use in the NIKE System very early in the TERRIER development program. This was made possible by the similarity of the two systems, both of them being antiaircraft guided missiles.21 However, there were tow basic differences in these systems that dictated some variation in booster design and performance characteristics. First, the TERRIER was a ship-launched missile; the NIKE, of course, was ground-launched. Second and more important, the TERRIER was a beam-guided missile (or a radar beam rider) and two missiles could be launched on the same radar beams; whereas, the NIKE used ccommand-guidance or ground control, this limiting the firing rate to one missile at a time because of radar waves.

In conducting R&D tests of the NIKE System, three different types of Jatos were used: the heavyweight Jato, 3-DS-47,000 X201A3; the lightweight Jato, 2.5-DS-59,000 X216A2; and the lightweight 3-fin Jato, 2.5-DS-59,000 XM5. These Jatos were developed by the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) for the Navy and were supplied to the Army for use with the NIKE. The XM5 Jeto--later designated the M5 Jato and classified as standard type--represents the Ordnance Corps version of the X216A2 Jato. To supplement the engineering tests performed by ABL on the X216A2 Jato, certain tests were repeated and additional tests performed on the XM5.22

The tentative design and performance characteristics of the 1249 prototype booster were thus based on the lightweight X216A2 Jato. Specificaly, the booster rocket for the tactical system was to produce 59,000 pounds of thrust at 600F and attain an end-of-boost velocity of about 2,000 feet per second within 2.5 seconds burning time at 600F, this representing an average acceleration of about 25g. It was to have a total energy (impulse) of 147,500 pound seconds and a specific impulse of 202 pound seconds per pound. The weights and dimensions of the booster were tentatively established as follows:23

Propellant Weight
Length 12 feet
Diameter 16 inches
Gross Weight 1,175 pounds
730 pounds

For flight stabilization of the missile-booster combination, three fins with an 86-inch circular span were mounted about the aft end of the booster. Thrust was transmitted through a socket structure fitted over the missile's boat-tailed sit section. When joined together, the missile- booster combination was 31.5 feet long and weighed about 2,325 pounds at firing.24

The Warhead

The three-section fragmtemtation varhead initially designed for the 1249 missile was essentially the same as that used in Model 491 (live warhead) R&D missiles. It was designed and arranged in the missile so as to fill an almost spherical burst volume with high velocity fragments. The two main warheads for the center and aft sections of the missile were barrel shaped, identical in design and weighed about 150 pounds each. Fragmentation material consisted of a two-layer wrapping of rectangular steel wire, notched at intervals to form about 30,000 fragments, each weighing 30 grains. The high explosive charge was RDX Composition B; charge-to-metal ratio, 1.25; fragment velocity, 6800 to 7000 feet per second. The dome-shaped warhead for the nose section weighed between 11 and 13 pounds. It contained a section of individual 30-grain cubical steel pellets set in a resin matrix with an explosive charge proportioned to produce a fragment velocity of 4500 to 5000 feet per second. The total warhead was designed to deliver a high order of tactical damage within a 20 yard radius.25

Ground tests made in 1952 indicated that the warhead fragment design weight should be increased, since the material desigmed to form 30-grain fragments had a tendency to break into fragments weighing about 21.5 grains. Accordingly, studies and tests were conducted to determine the relative effectiveness of 30-grain versus 60-grain fragments. While tests indicated that no significant change in warhead effectiveness could be expected from increasing the fragment weight to 60 grains. The vulnerability estimates used were far more reliable for 60-grain fragments. The main change appeared to be noticeable an individual components; engine kills were increased, while pilot hills decreased. Based on these test results--and the fact that fuel line fires would represent a major source of damage in the event of poor guidance--it was decided to adopt the 60-grain fragments for NIKE warheads as they possessed additional penetration capabilities and retained sufficient energy to inflict "A" damage.

Meanwhile, the decision was made to move the missile CG location slightly forward in an effort to improve aerodynamic stability. This was done by increasing the center warhead from 150 to 179 pounds, and reducing the aft warhead from 150 to 122 pounds. To fit these new designs into the same missile sections, it was necessary to reduce the length of the aft warhead and design the center warhesd with a long cylindrical center to bring it up to weight.

To determine the fragmentation characteristics of the new warhesd designs, a series of tests was conducted using three different types of material; vis., internally notched wire wrap similar to that used in the 150-lb. (T22) warhead; preformed cubical fragments with an outer aluminum cover: and preformed cubical fragments imbedded in a matrix and an outer aluminum cover. Since tests showed very little difference in performance, it was decided to devote all further development effort to warheads composed of preformed fragments imbedded in a matrix with aluminum covers.26

Arsenal. At the end of February 1952, no arming devices had been received for tests at the arsenal. The Ordnance Officer at BTL, reported that sufficient quantities had been received for, firing at WSPG, although "the quality is not much better than the first experimental lot of 100."27

The inferior quality of the T93E1 Safety & Arming S&A) Mechanism-as witnessed by test failures at WSPG; during the first six months of 1952--prompted the decision to use two S&A mechanisms in parallel in each missile to increase the reliability of warhead detonation. This required the additimn of one primacord laad in the detonating assembly.28

In spite of repeated efforts to expidite production of acceptable S&A devices, the situation was still unimproved at the end of 1952 and no warhead rounds had been tested at WSPG. In October, the Ordnance Officer at BTL arranged for representatives tram Picatinny and Frankford Arsenals and Eastman Kodak to go to WSPG; to observe test data and discuss the difficulties being encountered with the T93EI. Referring to this session, Colonel LeRoy reported: "Everyone agreed that something should be done. To date nothing constructive has been done...29 With the contractor evaluation tests scheduled to begin early in January 1953, no production T93E1 mechanisms had been accepted as of December 1952. (The first production lot of mechanisms delivered by the contractor--M. B. Rhodes Company--did not meet specification and was rejected by Frankford Arsenal. ) Meanwhile, to provide S&A mechanisms for scheduled test firings, Franford Arsenal called in all the T93 (inert)mechanisms and loaded them at WSPG. These, plus 14 T93EI mechanisms (from the rejected lot) provided the project with a total of 65--enough to last until about 1 February 1953.30

At the end of January, there were no arming mechanisms available for use at WSPG, except a few reserved for special purpose. Until more S&A devices could be obtained, an inertia switch was used in some tests; however, warhead rounds could not be flown without S&A mechanisms. Information from Frankford Arsenal indicated that the first production S&A devices would not be available before April 1953.31

Late in February, it was decided that a special T-18E1 detonator would probably meet NIKE arming requirements. This detonator would fit the rotor of the mechanism with no modification; and, since all production models of the T933E1 would have to be modified anyvay, the placement of this special T-18E3 detonator in the rotor should present no particular problem. Pending delivery of this new detonator, an effort was made to solve the problem by increasing the explosive component of the current detonator by about 50%32

Yet, the NIKE detonating train continued to present a serious problem, both from an engineering and availability viewpoint. The first practical demonstration of the warhead system under the 1249 R&D program was succeseful. however, two out of the next three 1249 rounds were failures and the varhead did not detonate until impact.33 It was thus obvious that the change in the detonator had not solved the problem and that immediate action would have to be taken to avoid delay of the contractor demonstration scheduled for 20 April 1953.

The first positive action to solve the problem and expedite the program came on 23 March 1953, when a meeting was held at Picatinny Arsenal. Three courses of action were agreed upon: (1) Modify the T93 Arming Mechanism to contain a stainless steel jacketed T-18E3 detonator in present rotor, change the PETN relay by placing a jacket around if, and reduce the air gap between detonator and relay; (2) Modify the T93 to contain a tetryl stem in a metal rotor and place a T-18E4 detonator external to the mechanism to line it up with tetryl stem (in rotor) when in armed position (PETN relay jacket and reduced air gap would also apply); and (3) Design a new type of detonator to contain 85 gr. milled azide and 85 gr. PETN with a standard. carbon bridge (PGPN relay jacket and reduced air gap would also apply).

The first course of action was adopted, mainly because of the time element involved. Four T9JE3 Arming mechanisms were modified accordingly and installed in 1249B missiles for R&D flight demonstrations of the warheed system on 31 March and 3 April 1953. All of these flight tests were successful.34 And ground tests were equally successful.35

Before closing the warhead discussion, it is perhaps worth noting that the Arming Mechanism was the only NIKE Missile component that had to be used two in parallel for reliability.

Contractor Evaluation Tests (Jan 53 - May 53)

Plans were first made to move the prototype ground equipment from Whippany, New Jersey to WSPG by air transport planes; however, this was ruled out by the priority use of transport aircraft for overseas shipments. It was then decided to move the equipment by truck-drawn convoy. This eleven-day, 2,610-mile trip-beginning on 25 October and ending on 4 November 1952--provided a thorough road test of both the vehicles and guidance equipment. To obtain satisfactory high speed operation, several changes were necessary in the springs and shock absorbers of van type trailers. These changes were made during stop-overs, so that the rest of the trip served to demonstrate that proper correction had been made. Upon arrival at White Sands, all vehicles operated satisfactorily and the changes were incorporated in production trailers. Initial operating tests of guidance equipment shoved no trace of damage resulting from the road trip. Upon completion of system checkout tests, a number of dry runs were conducted with operating personnel going thraugb the motions of shooting a missile against the target provided by the System Test Set. During these tests, all phases of battery operation were observed, including the smoothness of operation, the adequacy of control, displays, exchange of information, and other details of battery operation as a unit. These trials were made with military personnel at all operating positions with the exception of the Battery Control Officer position, which was manned by BTL engineer. After the dry runs had shown that the battery would operate smoothly, actual flight tests were conducted with military personnel continuing to man all but one of the operating positions.

The primary objective of the contractor evaluation tests was to demonstrate that the NIKE System would perform in accordance with the design intent under actual field conditions. The tests were also designed to provide an opportunity to locate and correct any design deficiencies which existed in the equipment. A series of 48 successful firings was planned; 49 missiles were actually fired.

The first missile (Round 301P) was fired on 27 January 1953; the last one (Round 349P) on 12 May 1953. Seven (7) of these rounds were fired at fixed space points: 26 at a moving and usually maneuvering simulated target generated by the System Test Set; 6 at QB-17 drone aircraft; and 10 at QF6F drone aircraft.

Of the 49 rounds fired, 21 (43%) were completely successful with miss distance consistent with the design intent; 1l (22.5%) achieved a "qualified" intercept; and 17 (34.5%) did not reach intercept.36 All but four of the "qualified" and unsuccessful rounds exhibited malfunctions which could be attributed to missile components. However, since the contractor's tests were designed mainly to test the ground guidance and control equipment, the data recorded did not allow a definite determination of all troubles occurring in the missile. Four rounds contained telemetry equipment to provide an added check on performance of the guidance system. The telemetry records obtained were generally as expected. In fact, these records ware later instrumental in verifying the fact that 14 (possibly 18) of the "qualified" and unsuccessful flights were caused by a design error in the roll Amount Gyroscope. This design error was traced back to a change in the gyro caging mechanism, which had been introduced late in 1952. As the result of an increase in weight of a caging clutch part, the missile either roll stabilized in the wrong plane or, in the extreme, the gyro was tumbled and no roll stabilization was obtained. This design error was not found and corrected until after the contractor test. had been completed.

Six of the seven warhead rounds successfully reached intercept. One of these rounds, fired at a QB-17 drone aircraft, had a miss distance of 16.3 yards and resulted in destruction or the drone.

Observation of radar operation during missile firing verified the design philosophy embodied in the automatic circuits incorporated in the missile radar for accepting and rejecting missiles and for slewing to the next designated launcher position. During the rapid fire test, in particular, six missiles were launched in 5 minutes and 50 seconds.

The last twelve rounds were fired from an alternate site, so located with respect to the launching area that normal missile paths to the intercept point would pass almost directly over the missile tracking radar. These "over-the-shoulder" tests were designed to prove-in the automatic circuitry which directs the missile around the missile radar.

Moving to the alternate site provided some experience in taking down and setting up the ground guidance and control equipment. The move, which involved hauling the equipment about two miles, was completed with a 15- man crew in about 20 working hours from the time power was turned off at one location and turned on at the other.37

In summary, it was the general consensus of opinion that these evaluation tests were highly succcessful, in that they provided a vast amount of essential information concerning the limits of system operation, as well as important design information necessary to correct deficiencies and improve system reliability. It was thus possible to introduce over 4000 changes in manufacturing information within a very short time and to incorporate in the initial production uniti a number of very vital design improvements.38

The first prototype model of NIKE Battery equipment, along with the prototype model of Assembly Area equipment, was turned over to the Ordnance Corps at WSPG on 15 May 1953.39

System improvement and Final Design

Following the evaluation tests on prototype cquipment and continuing until June 1955, the contractor's R&D effort was directed toward the improvement of system performance and correction of certain shortcomings in design which were not uncovered in the extremely short interval between development and production.

With the classification of the NIKE AJAX Guided Missile System as standard type in April 1955, R&D effort was substantially reduced. While the system improvement program still held high priority, the design effort was drawing to a natural close in favor of the improved second generation NIKE system. Logistic Directive 178, later issued by the Secretary of the Army, directed that modifications to NIKE ground equipment after 1 August 1955 be limited to those which would materially improve the reliability, performance, or safety of the system. It was further directed that modifications after 1 July 1956 be limited to those which would improve the safety of the system.

The progress made in the improvement program is reflected in the account of R&D test firings presented in Appendix 11. There is neither time nor space to cover all of the system modifications and improvements; however, there are some that warrantt at least brief mention.

First, and perhasps most important, were the modifications designed to increase system resistance to enemy electronic countermeasures (ECM) and to friendly interference. The Weapons System Evaluation Group (WSEG) tests were started in 1958 to determine the effectiveness of NIKE AJAX radars in the presence of ECM. This program, conducted in coordination with the Air Force, was designed to meet the 1960 enemy ECM threat which could seriously reduce the effectiveness of our air defense system.40

A computer modification was made to improve system accuracy against maneuvering targets and eliminate low bursts which were caused by the presence of electronic noise during the last few seconds of flight.

A lightweight, portable, combination blast pad and launcher tie-down system was developed for use with Field Army Units.

An improved S&A mechanisn, M30, was developed and released for use with the warhead system, replacing the original T93. (Tvo arming devices continued to be used in parallel for reliability.)

The missile was qualified for ready storage to -25 degree F without the use of external heating. The booster originally required a blanket in ready storage below 0 degree F, but was later qualified for ready storage to -10 degree F without the use of a blanket.

While these and numerous other modifications were actually being made, a feasibility study was in progress to determine methods of improving the kill capabilities of the NIKE AJAX System. The feasibility study, completed in May 1955, indicated that a stabilized sub-missile cluster rarhead would provide a 1ow altitude hill capability and, at the same time would appreciably increase the hill potentialities at all altitudes for which the system was originally designed. The NIKE AJAX cluster warhead system was primarily intended as an interim weapon to meet the requirement for a more lethal warhead while awaiting delivery of the NIKE HERCULES System. It was initially scheduled to be tactically available by the middle of CY 1958; hovever, because of inadequate funds and design problems associated vith the ejection and fusing systems, the program was delayed about eighteen months. The first and only sled test of the cluster warhead system was conducted on 12 April 1957 at the Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, California. This test vas unsuccessful. In June 1957, action was taken to cancel the program because adequate funds vere not available to continue R&D effort on a timely basis.

With the termination of cluster warhead development, the objectives of the NIKE AJAX R&D Program vere limited to providing technical assistance in the design and implementation of new siting plans and in the revision of siting criteria. The NIKE AJAX Project was formally terminated on 9 January 1998. Unexpended R&D funds uere reprogrammed to the NIKE HERCULES Project for use in development of the cellular Launcher.41 Figures 36 through 41 show the characteristics, capabilities, and components of the NIKE AJAX Guided Missile System in its final state of design.

Fig. 36
{ a poor image of a NIKE AJAX on a partially elevated launcher }

Fig. 37, NIKE AJAX, 24 Kbytes {Includes flight times}



Fig. 40, NIKE AJAX BOOSTER 11 Kbytes


The NIKE AJAX Test Program

As a general rule, an Army guided missile system must pass through three distinct test phases before it is ready for package training and tactical employment. There phases are grouped in the following order: Contractor R&D Tests, Engineering Evaluation Tests, and User or Service Tests. The NIKE test program, however, could not follow a set pattern, mainly because of the situation created by the "telescoped" R&D Production Program.42 In short, the various test phases of the NIKE System were overlapped in much the same manner as the development and production processes.

Most of the flight tests were performed at White Sands Proving Ground. *{Hereinafter referred to by its current name, White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).} Others were conducted at Salton Sea Test Base in Caliiornia for low altitude shoots, and Ft Fort Churchill, Canada, for cold weather tests. Contractor facilities at BTL, DAC, and elsewhere were used for laboratory purposes, as were numerous Government facilities. A number of special tests were conducted with emphasis on evsluating the missile under conditions which could not be simulatsd on the BTL System Tester but which had to be investigated to establish the operational limits of the system. Included in these were the low altitude and cold weather tests already mentioned.

Egineering User Test program

The responsibility for the Army Ordnance engineering test program was assigned to the White Sands Missile Range. The initial tests were performed principally on prototype missiles that had been submitted by the contractor as final design for quantity production. To obtain the maxirmrm amount of test data in the most economical manner, the information obtained from contractor R&D flights was used as lamch as possible, and engineering test results were made available to the contractor for design purposes. In order to improve the statistical value of information obtained, and also to reduce the complexity of pre-flight test preparations, the type of investigation conducted in these tvo programs was run as concurrently as possible.

The 1,000 NIKE Missiles (model 1249B) allocated for engineering and user tests were divided into lots of 50, 150, 200, 300, and 400. Certain design changes or second source items were inserted in each new group of missiles and the effect of such change on overall system performance was assessed. This was done in order to apply a calibration factor to each group of tests and thus arrive at a true evaluation of system performance over the entire envelope of coverage without requiring duplication of tests any more than necessary.

Army Ordnance engineering tests were started in November 1952, with the launching of three model 1249B missiles from R&D ground equipment.44 During the period 1 December 1952 to l March l953--while the prototype ground equipment was being set up and tested by the contractor--ten other 1249B missiles (Rounds 4E thru 13E) were launched from the R&D ground equipment.45

As noted earlier in this study, the prototype battery equipment was turned over to the Ordnance Corpe on 15 May 1953 after its use in the contractor's evaluation tests at WSMR. At this time, the Army engineering tests and the user or service tests were combined, in order to conserve time and materiel. The tests incorporated in the combined program by Army Field Forces (AFF) Board #4 stressed the evaluation of the system from a viewpoint of tactical usage, while those of the Ordnance Corps were primarily concerned with the technical and engineering aspects of the system. For the duration of the combincd egineering-User (E-U) Test Program, flight tests were conducted by a single team consisting of AFF (user) personnel and Ordnanca Corps (engineering) personnel. Thus, the technical and tactical evaluation of the NIKE System was accomplished jointly in pursuance of the separate test objectives of the Army Field Forces and the Ordnance Corps. During a later stage of the test program, additional user tests were conducted independently by the AFF Beard #4; however, previously conducted tests were not repeated unless they failed to furnish suitable data.46

Flight tests under the combined E-U Test Program began in June 1953. At the end of December 1958, approximately 434 E-U rounds had been flown.

Red Canyon Test Program

Package Training Program. With the activation of the first antiair- craft missile battalion in the fall of 1953, the Army established a package Training Program at Red Canyon Range Camp, (RCRC), New Mexico, for the purpose of testing new battery eguipment preparatory to installation at a tactical site. Under this test program--which, incidentally, is still being conducted--the permanently assigned cadre of newly activated NIKE batteries "prove-in" their battery eguipment under actual firing conditions against Radio Controlled Aerial Targets (RCAT). These tests subject the crew to its first actual firing experience and, in the majority of cases, are the first missile firings with the equipment. The 36th Antiaircraft Missile Battalion was the first tactical unit to participate in the program which started in September 1953.

Annual Service Practice Program. This program, started at RCRC late in 1954, provides essentially the same firing experience as Package Training, except that missile firings are conducted from four production sets of battery equipment permanently stationed at Rad Canyon for practice firings. Under this program, the crews of NIKE batteries on tactical sites are rotated back to Red Canyon for additional firing experience against RCAT's, in order to maintain crew firing-proficiency. Annual Service Practice (ASP) firings began in November 1954.

Statistical Analysis of RCRC Firings. As a result of reported difficulties with firings at Red Canyon early in 1951 a special monitor team of contractor representatives was formed to conduct a statistical firing study and recommend methods for improvement of system performance and firing results. The RCRC monitor team findings indicated that better system performance could be obtained by a further study of the NIKE AJAX System under tactical conditions. Past records indicated that the causes for about 20% of the failures occurring st Red Canyon were unknown. To effect any appreciable improvement in firing results, it was important that these causes be identified. Because of the high firing rate, the tactical environment, and the economy of using missiles designated for training purposes, Red Canyon was the logical place to instrument and fire a sample of of AJAX Missiles for statistical analysis.

Performance Improvement Test Program. Based on the findings of the RCRC monitor team, WSMR initiated a study, early in 1956, to determine the feasibility of an instrumentation program for rounds fired at Red Canyon. Preliminary tests were performed on suitable instruments by BTL and DAC resident groups at WSMR. The instrumentation program became the responsibility of the North Carolina laboratory in May 1956, and a team consisting of BTL and DAC personnel was formed. In a letter dated 20 July 1956, the Commanding General of Redstone Arsenal authorized BTL to proceed with a Performance Improvement Test (PIT) Program for NIKE AJAX.47

The 100 NIKE AJAX Missiles instrumented and fired in the PIT Program were of two design types, all with an on-site history of at least one year. Thirty-five (35) were early-design missiles (S/N 4192 and below); 65 were of the later design (S/N 4193 and above) and used the new GS-16725 Guidance Section. The tests were started at RCRC on 10 October 1956 and ended on 13 March 1957. Based on an overall evaluation, 68 (68%) of the 100 rounds were successful and 32 (32%) were unsuccessful. The PIT results indicated that operational or personnel errors accounted for only 8% of all failures, despite the complexity or the NIKE AJAX System. Recommendations made by the BTL/DAC team included (1) the continued surveillance of NIKE AJAX firings; (2) the implementation of a similar program earlier in the production phases of future guided missile systems; (3) the addition of an "operational readiness" test to the ASP firings; (4) the use of a higher performance target for NIKE HERCULES and future systems; (5) a more accurate miss-distance determination; and (6) the modification of certain operating procedures. It was also recommended that studies and field surveys be continued an such problems as missile-tracking failure at launch and the excessive leakage of oil from missile hydraulic valves-the latter condition was responsible for three of the 32 failures.48

NIKE AJAX Firing Summary

From June 1953 through December 1958, approldmately 3,225 NIKE AJAX rounds were expended in the various teet programs.49 Based on information recently received from BTL, these test firings may be broken down as follows: Engineering-User, 434; Package Training, 834; Annual Service Practice, 1,957. An evaluation of these firings is presented in Figure 42.

During the first three months of 1959, 242 more NIKE AJAX rounds were fired at the Red Canyon Range Camp, bringing the total to 3,033. Included in these were 98 Package Training and 144 Annual Service Practice firings.50

Fig. 40, NIKE AJAX Firing Summary 21 Kbytes

NIKE AJAX Production and Cost Data

The production of NIKE AJAX Missiles and associated ground equipment began at the DAC Santa Monica plant in 1952 and continued on schedule until September 1954. At this time, a contract was signed for production of missiles at the Charlotte Ordnance Missile Plant. This action transfened NIKE AJAX production from the DAC plant to the North Carolina complex in order to establish a suitable source for quantity production of NIKE HERCULES Missiles.

In April 1956, orders were issued for the acceleration of NIKE HERCULES production through new construction and conversion of existing NIKE AJAX equipment. Under this three-year program, all NIKE AJAX ground equipment was to be modified to accomodate the NIKE HERCULES Missile. However, due to tactical needs and the lack of available AJAX systems, Ordnance was directed to suspend the conversion program in December 1956.

With delivery of the first set of NIKE HERCULES ground equipment in June 1957, production of AJAX equipment was curtailed. The 350th and last set of NIKE AJAX ground equipnent was delivered in September 1957. Procurement contracts were issued for 367 sets of ground equipment; however, there were 5 conversions and 12 diversions to NIKE HERCULES, leaving a total of 350 sets actually delivered. The first NIKE HERCULES Missile was delivered in December 1957; the NIKE AJAX passed from the production scene with delivery of the last missile in April 1958. During the seven-year period from February 1951 to February 1958, production contracts were aieaed for a total or 14,750 NIKE AJAX Missiles. A directive was issued late in 1957 to terminate 1,050 missiles, leaving a total of 13,700. There was an overrun of 14 missiles, which made a total of 13,j14 ATAX Missiles actually delivered.

Contractual Costs*

The approximate monetary value of contracts executed from the inception of the NIKE project through its termination in December 1957 amormted to $1,166,077,417.19 or $1.16 billion. About $179.2 million of this sum went for research, development, and design engineering; $947.6 million went for industrial services and supplies; and the remaining $391 million was invested in production facilities.51

For details relating to the services, supplies, equipment, and facilities purchased under these contracts, the reader is referred to Appendix 12.

* To present a truly accurate account of the money spent on the NIKE AJAX during these past years would be impossible. At best, the information presented can only be considered fairly accurate, for there is no assurance that all contracts and supplamental agreements have been included. It should be pointed out, however, that Industrial Division personnel used every record at their disposal and made every effort to secure accurate and complete information.

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