A full-scale mockup of the Army's Spartan long-range interceptor missile being developed for the Sentinel Anti-ballistic Missile System is shown here at the McDonnell Douglas Corporation's Douglas Missile & Space Systems Division, Santa Monica, Calif.
A full-scale mockup of the Army's Spartan long-range interceptor missile being developed for the Sentinel Anti-ballistic Missile System is shown here at the McDonnell Douglas Corporation's Douglas Missile & Space Systems Division, Santa Monica, Calif. McDonnell Douglas is the airframe contractor for the missile. The 55-foot-long Spartan is a three-stage missile capable of intercepting attacking intercontinental three-stage missile capable of intercepting attacking intercontinental ballistic missiles outside the earth's atmosphere. It is one of two interceptor missiles being developed for the Sentinel System. The second is the short-range, high-acceleration Sprint. The Spartan is powered by three solid propellant motors and will carry a nuclear warhead. Flight tests for this missile are being conducted at the Army - operated Kwajalein Test Site in the Marshall Islands. Development of Sentinel System components is being managed by the Army's Sentinel System Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. The System Command also is responsible for management of the Sentinel production and deployment program for the Sentinel system manager.
The Spartan, a long-range interceptor missile for the Sentinel System, has been successfully test fired by the Army at Kwajalein Test Site in the Marshall Islands. This was the first flight for the missile being developed as a part of the Communist Chinese-oriented antiballistic missile system deployment announced on September 18, 1967, by the Secretary of Defense.
The 55-foot-long Spartan is designed to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles and will be deployed at Sentinel sites throughout the nation.
Lt. Gen. Alfred D. Starbird, Sentinel System Manager, termed the flight a "gratifying success for the first test of the Spartan."
The three-stage Spartan is the Army's biggest and most powerful missile.
The nuclear-armed Spartan will be capable of intercepting incoming missile warheads at ranges of several hundred miles. Spartan intercepts will be made outside the earth's atmosphere.
It is one of two interceptor missiles being developed for the Sentinel System under management of the Sentinel System Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. The second is the short-range Sprint missile, which has been undergoing flight tests at White Sands Missile Range, N. M., since late 1965.
The Spartan is being developed by the McDonnell Douglas Corporation's Douglas Missile & Space Systems Division at Santa Monica, California.
Brig. Gen. I. O. Drewry, Commanding General of the Sentinel System Command and Kwajalein Test Site Range Commander, said the flight "was the most recent of a series of tests we have had in the program to date. It confirms our confidence in our research, development and production program."
The missile was launched from a vertical concrete cell located in an earthen mound on the west end of Kwajalein Island -- the site of test launchings of its predecessor, the Zeus anti-missile missile.
Guided in flight by a nearby radar, the Spartan rose during first stage boost and then arced down range across the ocean.
The 16-foot-long second stage and the 11-foot-long first stage make up the Spartan's main propulsion system. The flight was designed to test the main propulsion system as well as the missile's structural integrity, response to guidance from the ground and controllability in flight.
The missile did not carry a warhead, though the external configuration and most of the internal components were of tactical design.
Spartan flights will continue from Kwajalein Island while launching facilities for both Spartan and Sprint are being built on nearby Meck Island, 17 miles north of Kwajalein. Also being constructed on Meck Island is the first model of the Sentinel System's Missile Site Radar (MSR). The MSR will be used in the system for detection and tracking of targets, as well as for guidance and tracking of the interceptor missiles in flight.
In future system research and development tests, the MSR and the interceptor missiles will engage targets launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, 5000 miles away.
Spartan is both longer and heavier than its Zeus predecessor. It is also more powerful and will have longer range.
Development of the Spartan was commenced in 1965 to give the Army's ballistic missile defense system a wider area coverage with each battery.
Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara announced last September that the Sentinel System employing the Spartan and Sprint missiles, the MSR and the Perimeter Acquisition Radar (PAR) would be deployed to defend the country against limited missile attacks.
The Spartan and the long-range PAR will enable the Sentinel to protect the entire country, including Alaska and Hawaii, against these limited attacks with 15-20 missile sites.
Western Electric Company is the Army's prime contractor for the Sentinel System and Bell Telephone Laboratories is responsible for system design and development.
Bell Labs. is also developing the missile-borne guidance system for the Spartan. Thiokol Chemical Corporation, Hunteville, Alabama, Division is developing the solid propellant and is casting the Spartan motors.
Western, Bell Labs. and McDonnell Douglas have been involved in the Army's air defense Nike missile systems since the Nike Ajax, which was the first anti-aircraft missile system and was deployed in the early 1950's.
Development of Sentinel components was started under the Nike-X program and its predecessor, the Nike-Zeus program. The first Sentinel site in the United States is expected to be completed in the early 1970's. To date, the general locations of 10 candidate Sentinel sites have been announced by the Department of Defense.