U.S. Anti-Ballistic Missiles

(Updated 6 January 2012)

References Consulted:
HF Radar Signatures by U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (October 1968) (1.7 MB)
IDA Paper P-3014: Schedule-Assessment Methods for Surface-Launched Interceptors (5.7 MB)
Designation-Systems.Net Page on Spartan by Andreas Parsch
Designation-Systems.Net Page on Sprint by Andreas Parsch
Janes' Strategic Weapons Systems (2008)
[1] Report on Military Spending – 1970 by Members of Congress for Peace Through Law
[2] Study S-467: The Evolution of U.S. Strategic Command and Control and Warning, 1945-1972; Part Four (June 1975)

Nike Zeus A (DM-15)

Nike Zeus-B

LIM-49A Spartan (DM-15X2?)

Missile Length: 662.4”
Missile Diameter:
Missile Finspan: 117.6”
Missile Weight: 33,500 lbs
Missile Thrust (Third Stage): Unknown (Thiokol TX-239)
Missile Thrust (Second Stage): Unknown (Thiokol TX-454) with a Total Impulse of 3,108,000 (lbs x sec)
Missile Thrust (First Stage): 500,000 lbf (Thiokol TX-500) with a Total Impulse of 2,411,600 (lbs x sec)
Maximum Velocity: 8,887 ft/sec
Warhead: W71 – Five Megaton Enhanced Radiation Warhead
Kill Radius (Public): 12 miles [1]
Kill Radius (Secret): 80 to 200 nautical miles (depending on assumptions) [2]
Maximum Slant Range: 399.5 nautical miles (740 km)
Maximum Engagement Altitude: 550~ kilometers
Launch Reaction Time: About 30 seconds
Guidance System Weight: 90 lbs
Developmental Testing: 15 launches from 3/1968 to 3/1970
Operational Testing: 20 launches from 4/1970 to 6/1973.
Development History: In March 1965, Bell Labs was authorized to begin Phase I and II of R&D. In October 1965, McDonnell Douglas assumed responsibility for development of the missile.
The first guided launch of a Spartan occurred in March 1968, beginning the Developmental Test phase, which continued until March 1970. During this period fifteen launches were conducted, of which 11 were completely successful, 2 were partial, and 2 were failures.
Operational testing began in April 1970; and on August 1970, the first operational intercept test of a Spartan resulted in a successful intercept of a Minuteman I RV. Operational Testing concluded June 1973.
The first lot of missiles was funded October 1970, with delivery beginning in December 1972. Deployment of the missiles operationally began July 1974.
Capabilities: The third stage does not ignite automatically, it is ignited upon ground command in order to maximize endo-atmospheric manouvering capabilities.

Spartan II / Improved Spartan /Advanced Spartan / Project 20

Development History: An improved version of Spartan was part of SAFEGUARD planning from March 1969 onwards for Phase II of the system and deployment plans were to have Spartan and Improved Spartan coexisting at the same sites. As of 1971, plans were for IOC in 1976. When SAFEGUARD was ordered shut down, the Improved Spartan program also died.
Capabilities: Improved Spartan would have been a faster reacting missile with greater acceleration and increased burnout velocity over Spartan, allowing it to deal with SLBM and low-trajectory ICBM threats along with possibly FOBS threats. Capabilities under development for incorporation into Improved Spartan were:
Loiter Capability: The third stage would have been capable of being shut down on ground command and then being reignited on ground command, allowing ‘over-targeted’ missiles launched in prior engagements to be held in reserve for future engagements. In order to make this possible, liquid propellant and dual-thrust solid propellant configurations were being studied, as was a smaller and lighter warhead of possibly 1~ megaton range.
Homing Intercept Technology: Developed to allow both multi-engagement capability for a single missile and to allow launches against suspected re-entry vehicles without high level command authority authorization for nuclear release. The original concept was for several HIT vehicles to be carried by a single Spartan and controlled by a large optical sensor on the Spartan that would work with ground control to identify possible RVs and program the HIT vehicles before release with the necessary intercept parameters.
After Multi-Warhead ABMs were banned by the ABM treaty, HIT technology was shifted over to using a single HIT warhead in a much smaller missile. Vought was lead contractor for this technical concept.


Missile Length: 324”
Missile Diameter:
Missile Weight: 7,600 lbs
Second Stage Length: 180”
Second Stage Diameter: 30”
Second Stage Motor: Hercules X-265
Second Stage Thrust: 150,000 lbf for 2 seconds (300,000 lb-sec)
Second Stage Acceleration:
90 G
Second Stage Maximum Velocity:
9,500 to 10,200 fps (2,896 to 3,109 m/sec)
First Stage Length: 144”
First Stage Diameter: 42”
First Stage Motor: Hercules X-265
First Stage Thrust: 600,000 to 750,000 lbf for 1.8 to 2 seconds (1,080,000 to 1,500,00 lb-sec)
First Stage Acceleration: 130 G
First Stage Maximum Velocity: 5,500 fps (1,676 m/sec)
Warhead: W66 1 kiloton
Range: 32 nautical miles
Guidance System Weight: 76.16 lbs
Developmental Testing: 42 launches from 11/1965 to 8/1970.
Operational Testing: 34 launches from 10/1970 to 12/1973.
Development History: Orlando Division of Martin Marietta wins contract March 1963. EMD System Contract Awarded May 1963. Deployment was expected by 1970. First Guided Launch in November 1965, beginning DT&E. Development and Testing complete August 1970.
Initial Operational Test and Evaluation begun October 1970. In the first test against an actual target, an ICBM nose cone was successfully intercepted in December 1970. On 7 May 1971 in the first system test against a SLBM threat, a Sprint intercepted a Polaris warhead over the Pacific.
The first set of 16 SPRINT system tests from Fall 1970 to Fall of 1971 resulted in 12 complete successes, 2 partial successes and 2 failures.
The second set of 32 Sprint System tests carried out from Mid-1971 to December 1973 resulted in 29 complete successes.
Deployment of SPRINT began June 1974.

Sprint II

Development History: Contract definition study by Martin Marietta begun May 1971. Goals were greater accuracy, manouvering capability, increased reliability and hardening against nearby nuclear blasts and the stresses generated by high-gee hard manouvering. Finally, the launch process was to be faster. In October 1971; the Advanced Design Contract was awarded, followed by the contract for the Development and Flight Test of the Prototype Sprint II on 31 May 1972. This phase was estimated to have a duration of 57 months, ending in early 1977. Unfortunately design work was terminated August 1975 due to reductions in ABM funding.
Capabilities: Described as having three times the maneuverability of Sprint I and having an even faster launch process.


Development History: Integration of the Safeguard complex began early in 1970. The first system test on April 14, 1970, using a Spartan missile was successful. During the development of the complex, 49 tests were carried out, of which 42 were successful, 2 were partial successes, and five were total failures.
Installation of the missiles was completed by August 1974, and was delivered to the Army in October 1974. IOC was in April 1975 with 28 Sprints and 8 Spartans. Full Operational Capability was achieved in October 1975 with 70 Sprints and 30 Spartans. Later that month, Congress voted to cut the funding for Safeguard massively, eventually ordering the system to be deactivicated.

Patriot PAC -3 (ERINT)

Missile Length: 205”
Missile Diameter:
Missile Finspan: 20”
Missile Weight: 700 lbs (320 kg)
Warhead: Hit to Kill

Army/Navy Joint THAAD

Notes: In 1994, the US Army and US Navy considered a common ground/shipborne mobile ABM system using a modified THAAD missile coupled with a Mk 72 Booster which could be launched from Mk 41 VLS. This never got off the ground, as the Navy preferred a modified SM-2 with the LEAP warhead.

THAAD Block 4

Missile Length: 243”
Missile Diameter:
Missile Weight: 630 kg
Delta Vee: 2.8~ km/sec
Motor: HTPB Based
Guidance: Inertial, GPS, and Command updates.
Warhead: THAAD Kill Vehicle
Maximum Range: 300 km
Intercept Altitudes: 20 to 200 km
Firing Battery Organization:
Up to 9 x TELs, each with eight missiles, and be based on the Oshkosh M1075 HEMTT. A complete reload can be done in 30 minutes. Due to an onboard GPS receiver, the TEL can be up to 160 km from the radar and battle management vehicles.
The THAAD Ground Based Radar is a single faced 12.5m long Phased Array radar on a HEMTT; and will provide target object maps to the missiles before their IIR seekers begin searching. The Complex has five vehicles – the Control, Antenna, Electronics, Power, and Cooling trailers. The radar has 25,344 modules, each with a power of 6 to 8 watts. Power is provided by a 1.3 MW generator on the power trailer.
The Battle Management System consists of seven shelters on Humvees.
Notes: The THAAD canister is an adaptation of the Mk 41 VLS canister.

THAAD Block 10

Missile Diameter: 23
Maximum Range:
1,000 km
Intercept Altitudes: 20 to 500 km
Notes: Increased diameter motor plus a new third kick stage extend range and altitude. Expected between 2012-2015.

Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) System

Interceptor: GBI
Interceptor Farm: Located in Fort Greely, AK at 63°57'12.45"N / 145°43'54.14"W. Controlled by the 49th Missile Defense Battalion (GMD), a Alaska National Guard unit that is on permanent active duty. Subordinate to 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD).
Command Complex: Was originally in Cheyenne Mountain Complex, CO, but moved to Peterson AFB, CO after the Mountain was closed down. Operated by 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD).

GBI (Lockheed-Martin BV+)

Missile Length: 640”
Missile Diameter:
40.15” (First Stage); 27.5” (Second/Third Stages)
Missile Weight: 32,368 lbs (14,682 kg)
Third Stage: ATK-Thiokol Orbus 1A Motor (470 kg with 417 kg of HTPB propellant, burn time of 40 seconds)
Second Stage:
ATK-Thiokol Orbus 1A Motor (470 kg with 417 kg of HTPB propellant, burn time of 40 seconds)
First Stage: ATK-Thiokol GEM-40VN motor (13,232 kg with 11,765 kg of propellant; burn time of 63~ seconds)
Delta Vee: 7.0 km/sec
Range: 4,500 km
Warhead: 140 lb EKV Kill Vehicle

GBI (Orbital Sciences BV)

Missile Length: 654”
Missile Diameter:
Missile Weight: 42,990 lbs (19,500 kg)
Third Stage: 1.31m long, 0.97 m diameter, Orion 38 Motor (875 kg with 770 kg HTPB Propellant, 68 second burn time, 7,200 lbf).
Second Stage:
1.9m long, 1.28 m diameter, Orion 50S-XL Motor (3,010 kg with 2,720 kg HTPB Propellant, 45 second burn time, 34,500 lbf).
First Stage: 10.1m long, 1.28 m diameter, Orion 50S-XLG Motor (16,400 kg with 15,000 kg HTPB Propellant, 69 second burn time; 99,000 lbf).
Delta Vee: 8.3 km/sec
Minimum Range: 1,000 km
Maximum Range: 5,000 km
Warhead: 140 lb EKV Kill Vehicle


Missile Length: 11m
Missile Diameter:
Missile Weight: 7,400 kg
Stages: The first two stages will burn for 100 seconds, providing a delta vee of 7 km/sec. The third stage will have a three pulse solid motor and carry the kill vehicle.
Delta Vee: 7.0 km/sec (first versions); 8.0 km/sec (later versions)
Maximum Intercept Altitude: 250 km
Maximum Range: 1,500 km
Warhead: 150 kg kill vehicle (50-60 kg at intercept)
Firing Battery Organization: Five TELs (two missiles each) towed by Oshkosh M1070s; and six Humvee based mobile command centers. It would require only seven C-17 loads.
Notes: Cancelled by Obama Administration early 2009.

RIM-161A SM-3 Block IA
RIM-161C SM-3 Block IB

Third Stage: ATK Mk 136 TRSM
Sustainer Stage: ARC Mk 104
Booster Stage : UT Mk 72
Delta Vee: 4.0 km/sec
Intercept Altitude:: 70 to 500 km
Range: 1,200 km
Warhead: Mk 142 LEAP Kinetic Warhead
Engagement Sequence: The third stage containing the Mk 142 Kinetic Warhead separates at 187,500 feet; and is under AEGIS control up to 300,000 ft. Pitchover then begins. The nose shroud is jettisoned, and the IIR sensor is aligned towards the threat. At 400,000 feet; the KKV INS is aligned; and the KKV is released, achieving an intercept at around 410,000 feet.

RIM-161D SM-3 Block II

Third Stage: ATK Mk 136 TRSM
Sustainer Stage: New 21” Diameter Motor
Booster Stage : New 21” Diameter Motor
Delta Vee: 6.0 km/sec
Warhead: Mk 142 LEAP Kinetic Warhead
Notes: Will also have a two-color IIR seeker for improved discrimination.

Kinetic Kill Manouvering Vehicles


Length: 1.39m
Diameter: 0.61m
Dry Weight: 50~ kg
Loaded Weight: 64 kg
Engine: Monomethyl Hydrazine (MMH) Motor; Cold Helium Gas Attitude Control System; about 290 ISP.
Sensor: 256 x 256 Array operating in IR Medium Band and Visual Band; cooled by krypton gas
Final Velocity: 7 to 15 km/sec (depending on GBI flight profile)
Notes: Following separation, two star sightings are taken to align it's INS. Command updates are then continuously sent from the ground based radars. Acquistion of the enemy warhead by onboard sensors occurs at 600 to 800 km.

THAAD Kill Vehicle

Length: 2.32m
Boeing-Rocketdyne DACS utilizing bi-propellants.
256 x 256 Array operating in IR Long Wave Band. Can acquire in excess of 300 km.
Notes: The sensor package is the same as the SM-3 Block I; except for the addition of a filter that sets the gain for either an endo- or exo-atmospheric intercept. The kill vehicle's intercept point and target maps are updated twice by the Ground Based Radar, until the terminal phase starts.

Mk 142 LEAP Kinetic Warhead (SM-3)

Loaded Weight: 23 kg
Engine: Solid Divert and Attitude Control System (SDACS); about 260-270 ISP.
Sensor: 256 x 256 Array operating in IR Long Wave Band. Can acquire in excess of 300 km.
Note: A small cluster of tungsten rods are ejected just before target impact to provide additional assurance of target destruction. The sensor has sufficient resolution to allow onboard electronics to select an aimpoint on the target, and the target tracking and acquisition algorithms function independently of target aspect angle or orientation towards the sensor.