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Published on Dec 2, 2011
Nike Zeus anti-ICBM missile. It's mission is the destruction of enemy ballistic missiles which pose a threat to the continental United States.
The Nike family (after Nike, the goddess of victory from Greek mythology) included the Nike Ajax, the Nike Hercules, the Nike Zeus A, the Nike Zeus B (XLIM-49A), and the Spartan (LIM-49A). The missile's first-stage solid rocket booster was also used for NASA's Nike Smoke rocket, used for atmospheric research. With the Nike-X ABM system, an extended range version of the Nike Zeus B was developed called Nike Zeus EX. Nike Zeus EX was renamed as Spartan when Nike-X was renamed as Sentinel in 1967.
From Wikipedia: "Nike missile development continued, producing Improved Nike Hercules and then Nike Zeus A and B. The Zeus was designed to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Zeus, with a new 400,000 lbf (1.78 MN) thrust solid-fuel booster, was first test launched during August 1959 and demonstrated a top speed of 8,000 mph (12,875 km/h). The Nike Zeus system also included the Zeus Acquisition Radar (ZAR), a significant improvement over the Nike Hercules HIPAR system. Shaped like a pyramid, the ZAR featured a Luneburg lens receiver aerial weighing about 1,000 tons. The first successful intercept of an ICBM by Zeus was in 1962, at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. Despite its technological advancements, the Department of Defense terminated Zeus development in 1963. The Zeus system, which cost an estimated $15 billion, still suffered from several technical flaws, that were believed to be uneconomical to overcome. Still, the Army continued to develop an anti-ICBM weapon system referred to as "Nike-X" that was largely based on the technological advances of the Zeus system. Nike-X featured phase-array radars, computer advances, and a missile tolerant of skin temperatures three times those of the Zeus. In September 1967, the Department of Defense announced the deployment of the LIM-49A Spartan missile system, its major elements drawn from Nike X development. In March 1969. the Army started the Safeguard ABM program, which was designed to defend Minuteman ICBMs, and which was also based on the Nike-X system. It became operational in 1975, but was shut down after just three months."